Jessica Byerly, UI; Friday, July 12, 2013

Last night, there was a power outage at the university, preventing Anthony from autoclaving our surgical instruments. Instead, we boiled our surgery packs in hot water on site and injected our patients with antibiotics. The plan for today was to return to help out at the Dakawa Prison. They were happy to have us back and Krista, Natalie, and Desiree each spayed a dog. I successfully neutered an adult dog for the first time (with a lot of help and guidance from Dr. Bennett).

The treatment of animals here is sometimes shocking to our American sensibilities. For example, some men showed up today on a motorcycle with their dog tied with a rope to the back, struggling to run fast enough to keep up with the bike. The dog understandably was in respiratory distress by the end of the ordeal and Dr. Muhairwa and Anthony took their truck to pick up the other dogs.

For someone like me who has never visited a developing nation before, seeing the way of life of the average person here has been eye-opening to say the least. When I asked Dr. Muhairwa what the dominant industry was in the area, he laughed and told me there was no industry. The majority of the people here are sustenance farmers, growing crops and keeping goats, chickens, and cattle. He told me that many of the people here live “hand to mouth” and occasionally are able to sell a limited amount of their surplus crops. From a veterinary perspective, it’s strange for me to see so many people owning livestock. When you pass by a family’s home, it’s not uncommon to see a solitary goat tied up along the roadside nibbling at whatever weeds are within reach and there always seems to be a chicken clucking about with her chicks underfoot.

The prison guards were very kind to us during both of our visits and always very engaged in what we were doing, frequently asking questions about why we did a procedure a certain way or general veterinary medicine-related questions. To thank us for our two trips to spay, neuter, vaccinate, and deworm their dogs they made us lunch consisting of goat stew with corn pancakes, milk tea, and fresh pineapple. Michael, the second-in-command at the prison warmly thanked us for helping them and said that we gave the prison new goals to strive for in terms of animal care and welfare.

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