Unsung heroes of Kenya
Childhood sweethearts Githiri and Wanjiku have both been disabled since birth. When Wanjiku became pregnant with their first child, it became increasingly difficult for Githiri to manage their workload. He had to fetch water each day, and take feed to his cows at the family farm - travelling almost 7km on his two crutches each day.
It was during this challenging time that the couple achieved their long-held dream of buying a donkey - naming him ‘Githiku’; short for Githiri and Wanjiku.
The couple went on to have three children and the youngest, Muriu, grew very fond of Githiku. Then one day, seeing that Githiku was hungry, Muriu offered the donkey some maize - not knowing that the fertiliser coating the grain could harm the animal’s stomach.
An agonising journey
That evening Githiku began to suffer terribly. He was in great pain; his eyes had begun to grow pale and his legs were weak. He managed to pull his cart 5km to the family’s home before collapsing.
Githiri immediately called the Brooke vet who quickly diagnosed that Githiku was suffering from colic. He administered a muscle relaxant, gave liquid paraffin treatment and a painkilling injection, and advised that Githiku be kept in the shade and checked regularly throughout the night. He also promised to return in the morning to check on the donkey’s condition.
Fortunately, loyal Githiku made a good recovery and is back to performing his vital role for a very appreciative family. Donkeys like Githiku are true heroes for poor families in Kenya, as they are often the sole means of generating income.