Saturday, May 29, 2010

Khartoum: Quest to find a vet

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.  


  1. Great photos and post Jo.
    Enjoy the weekend.

  2. Your life is an adventure, it's so interesting to read your posts. Shadow is as cute as a button. Guess Cleopatra wasn't meant to be, haha!
    Have a lovely weekend.
    ☼ Sunny

  3. Aha i see you have worked out the big photo issue. They look great and so is your story of acquiring vaccinations for Shadow. 45C is very hot. How can you stand it.? It is so interesting learning about your life in Sudan.

  4. Hey Jo! You sure went to some effort for that sweet little Shadow. A very interesting "tour" for me. Having this Journal and meeting people from around the world has exposed me to many things I would never have gotten to see. I can't imagine living (and working)in that heat. It still has not rained here.

  5. Hi Jo, wow, seems like I was adventuring also with you finding for that vaccine for Shadow. Glad you successfully brought her to SA.

    With your question whether I'm an educator or a student .... both ... hahahah... I teach Social Sciences and at the same time wrapping up my masters....

    Thanks Jo for dropping by ... thank you for taking us to places we just read on books.... all the best.

  6. Jo, it is so interesting to read about all the effort you must go through to get the proper vaccinations for a pet in Sudan! Frustrating for you, I know, but worth it to keep little Shadow healthy. I didn't know anything at all about Sudan other than the killing that has taken place, so it's nice to read about ordinary life that goes on and to see what it looks like there. It's so odd to see a horse-drawn cart next to a car on a highway.

  7. Great photo series. Interesting to see the animals intermingled with modern technology.

    Darryl and Ruth : )

  8. What an adventure. It's nice to see the neighborhood. But really easier to take care of the vaccinations yourself, now that you know where to get them. And won't it be nice to know that Shadow can travel back to ZA. She sure is a cutie!

  9. Thanks Regina;) Bless you.

    Hi Sunny;) yes the name Cleopatra would've been a little odd! Thanks for popping in.

    Thanks for your help regarding the photos, diane. The heat is very challenging. We cope but wish the rains would come now.

    Hi Lori;) I agree that Blogger opens up so many interesting doors for all of us. It is rather hot here...Thanks for popping in.

    Hi Vernz;) wow, to teach AND to study is amazing. I'll pop into your blog again soon as I'm a follower.

    Hi Pat;) It is better to be on the safe side and little Shadow has to be innoculated if (when!) we take him back to SA one day. Khartoum traffic has many different modes of transport. I'll do a post on it as soon as I have my photo permit. Thanks for popping in.

    Hi Living in Williamsburg: Khartoum has so much traffic: all different! Thanks for popping in.

    Hi Gaelyn;) You know me by now and animals. Nothing is too much to keep the little ones safe and healthy. Thanks, it will be super to take him home one day.

  10. Uitstekende foto's en skryfwerk!! Ek kan omtrent die 'volksvreemdheid' aanvoel hier waar ek sit! Ons grade is nou in die minusse - jy smelt seker amper!

  11. Dankie Ida!Jy's so aanmoedigend. Dit is 'n ander lewe en heel anders... Brrr, ek wens ons het net 25 grade hier dan is dit koel - maar dis ons nag temperature. Vandag was 'n bietjie koeler want dit het gisteraand oorkant in Khartoum en Bahri effens gereen. Ons het maar 40 grade vandag gehad! Dit is SNIKKEND warm Ida. Vir Vrystaters soos ek en Grant, is dit nogal 'n uitdaging - mens kan net nie hier vet words nie Ha! Lekker naweek vir jou. Liefe Jo

  12. Wow Jo---what an experience. BUT--you are finding out more and more about the area --and where you need to go to find what!!!!! Glad you found so many folks who spoke English along the way to help you.

    Cannot imagine temperatures that HIGH.... I complain here when it gets into the 80's.... ha

    Glad you got Shadow all taken care of ---and now know that he is a HE.

    Have a great weekend.

  13. Finding a vet proved to be quite an adventure. Shadow is lucky to have a persistent owner who cares enough to comb the city for the proper vaccinations!

  14. That looks like quite the adventure, just to get the vaccination. It's a very different part of the world for me, one I'd love to see. I'm glad to hear that your grandson is doing well.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo