November 28

Dear Diary,

This afternoon, my father ran into the house very upset.

Min tafatara?” said my mother. “What’s happened?”

Father said that there is kiftina in the village. This is a disease that spreads among the cattle and goats this time of year. Before I was born, it came and killed many animals in our village. Father says it probably happened when a poor relative brought his animals to a neighbor’s farm during a visit; he mixed his sick animals with that of his village cousin, and infected them. If the neighbor does not get his animals treated, the whole village could be in trouble. Father is going straight to the DA, the development agent, to tell her of this problem.

“The DA will bring medicine,” mother said. “It will be alright.”

But we are keeping our cattle in the barn for now and Kassa is sleeping inside our fence. Because kiftina is also called the camel disease. I don’t want anything to happen to her!

The whole time I was sweeping the floors and grinding maize, I was worrying about our goats and cows and Kassa. What about the ones we gave to Negasi? Will they be sick, too? Will Merzeneb be shamed and have to come home? I’m afraid to ask.

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