Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Quiet Day

Sometimes, at night, when Aketi is sleeping and sprawled, he is illuminated by only the light of our LCD crank-lantern, and only his pale skin reflects the light. You can’t see how hairy he is, and he could just as well be a little human!

Last night it rained fiercely, one of the scarce rainstorms during the dry season. We awoke this morning to two sickies -- Aketi and Adam both seem to have amoebas. Surprise surprise!

Of course, Aketi complains less than Adam does but Adam also doesn’t poop in my lap.

We sent Seba out to the pharmacy to get some WORMEX for Adam, and I gave Aketi some metronidazole that was in the house from a previous chimpanzee’s infection.

It’s always a worry, giving medicine to chimpanzees here but one just has to make due. I thought perhaps the medicine was old, and might have gone bad, and the last time I administered medicine to chimpanzees I had an eyedropper that indicated number of CCs.

But we plodded ahead anyway, using a spoon and having Adam hold Aketi’s hands (to prevent him from once again flinging medicine in my face) while I pried his mouth open to pour the tiniest bit in.

Aketi is the smallest ward I’ve ever had, which makes me somewhat nervous because I know how precarious his health could be. It’s quite amazing that little chimpanzees can compromise as well as they do -- in the wild, they’d be having almost nothing but milk until the age of three, but here, Aketi contents himself by eating bread and veggies and bananas and drinking water and milk.

Other times, however, Adam and I are both so aware of what he lost, and of how recently it was that he had a real mother and a normal chimpanzee life. He’ll wake up sometimes in the night, desperately searching for a nipple.

Two nights ago, inexplicably, he got up in the night and went tearing across the house, making the “momma” call repeatedly and searching for something that obviously wasn’t there. It’s times like that which make me particularly sad, because as much as we can do for Aketi in making him happy and well-adjusted, there are some things we can never give back to him.

In the meantime, we’re taking it easy today and Aketi is fast asleep on his little bed. Adam and I are sitting next to him, keeping ourselves busy and listening to Christmas music. The rain cooled things down, and it feels peaceful!

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