One of the first things I saw, while visiting the Second Home lodge, was this scrawny little chicken roaming the place. Very confidently. It seemed at home there. Not afraid of the children, not afraid of the staff. Just very, very comfortable. Our manager Marie had this little chicks eye, wherever she went.
After laughing over this chicken catching flies (like a dog chasing its tail) and ants (nearly breaking its beak on the pavement) and sleeping on a self appointed bed (the handle bars of a wheelchair) for a couple of days, I asked Marie about this special chicken.
She happily shared the story. While picking up the brothers Ibrahim and Bakary at their home for the first time, their father gave Marie a chicken, as a thank you for the help Marie was offering him. Now this in itself is a very unusual thing and a reason for celebration. He was the first one of the parents to give us anything. Ever. He still gives Marie things for the home or the other children. Every single time the boys are picked up.
He told Marie the chicken was full of eggs. And surely enough. The chicken laid a large clutch of eggs at Second Home. They all hatched!
The little chicks and their mother where transported to a neighbours’ henhouse, to keep them safe. The children collect the eggs there each morning. Most of the chickens found the henhouse delightful and are very happy there.
Except one little chicken.
The morning after Marie brought the new chicks to the neighbors’ place, there it was. Outside of the door. Waiting for Marie. So, she fed the chicken some left over rice and took it back to the neighbours’ henhouse. The next day the chicken was waiting for her at the door again. She smiled and took the chicken back again.
This went on for four days. At which point, Marie gave in.
The little chicken is now very happily living at the lodge. Every morning Marie and the chicken have a conversation as the chicken has breakfast. The chicken is watching over Marie and Marie is watching over the chicken. It is part of the family now.