Until meeting Christopher and Sanaa early in April, Grant and I experienced our own adventures trying to locate "unusual" items in Khartoum. At that stage (September last year) I knew no Arabic and used charades, sounds and armwaving tactics to make myself understood. You can read about one of these occassions here.
Last Wednesday I asked Christopher (my Arabic tutor's husband) to take me to a vet in the city. I had e-mailed Danie, our vet in South Africa, sending him photos of Shadow as well as his height and weight (2lbs 4 oz) I also sent photos of the cat's parts (er) which would enable Danie to tell us what the gender is. The report came back; Shadow is a male! Danie also, at my request sent the names of the three-month innoculations Shadow has to have. Christopher duly arrived at 10am in a hyab/taxi and we set off across the Nile river to Bahri . We were on our way to the University of Agriculture where Christopher had located a small animals (house pets) vet by telephone.
I was surprised to see that we travelled along tree-line streets with hardly any traffic. Because the area only houses students who are either attending lectures or in their rooms studying, we had the road to ourselves which is most unusual in Khartoum.
When we arrived outside the vet, Christopher instructed the taxi driver (who claimed brother-in-law was a doctor here) to accompany me indoors.
Inside I found an open reception area where a horse, (pictured at top) a goat and a dog (above) were waiting with their owners to be attended to. As I explained to the receptionist what I required she said they didn't have innoculations there. I would have to return to Omdurman Souq/market. She went out into the street to where Christopher was waiting and explained how to get to the vet in Omdurman. (Meanwhile the taxi driver had disappeared into one of the offices beyond the courtyard where he found his relative and was having a bite to eat!)
Students stroll between lectures along palm tree lined lanes
We crossed the Nile river once more and returned to Omdurman. The taxi driver was born in this city and assured us he knew where to take us.
Entering Omdurman you come across many horse-drawn carts whereas in Khartoum and Bahri, donkeys drawing carts are more popular.
The horses always look well-kept and properly fed. As we turned into another street, Christopher pointed out a special market where the horse and donkey feed can be purchased for a very reasonable price
Two carts loaded with the animal's feed in front of us. These carts were being drawn by donkeys
Another horse and cart
The taxi driver closes the door while I photograph a cartload of bananas
I follow the taxi driver in search of the vet's surgery/offices
Entering the Souq Saadi Small Animals Vet Services
The vet on the left spoke fluent English and issued me with the Rabies Vaccination. The other vaccinations (for Catflu and Sniffles) I would find in Burri, Khartoum. *sigh*
Leaving Omdurman we headed for the Shambat Bridge over the Nile once more!
Once we arrived in the Burri suburb of Khartoum, Christopher warned me that we were entering a high security area. We were on our way to the Police Dog Administration and no photos were allowed
Viola! At last I managed to get the other vaccinations
It was no problem not being able to take photos. I entered a brightly-lit office and was welcomed by a gentleman who spoke perfect English. He knew exactly which vaccinations I needed (he also enquired whether I needed the rabies...) and he opened a vaccination card for Shadow. He told me when we need to get the cat out of Sudan , he would issue the Health Certificate and with his stamp on the document, I would not have any problems gettitng him into South Africa. On Thursday afternoon, while Grant held Shadow, I injected the three-in-one vaccine under the skin into the little guy's neck. He didn't even flinch. Ha! Perhaps I could become a nurse!
Above is the Health and Vaccination Record for Shadow (in English) as well as his Rabies certificate, which is in Arabic. I'll administer the rabies injection in two weeks' time. Each time I stick the labels in the record next to the date
If you're wondering why I don't take the cat to the vet, picture this: The day I went in search of the vet, I would have had to transport Shadow in an old birdcage (we have no cat basket here) He would have been in a very hot taxi without airconditioning for three hours. The temperature on Wednesday was 45 °C/113°F; I don't think he'd have survived it.
That evening we attended the second birthday party of Christopher and Sanaa's little girl. Above is a photo of the proud parents of a very clever and well-behaved little girl.