Africa · Kamsar · Me myself and I · Thoughts · Travel

Kamsar, random tales…The hen that wasn’t



Kamsar existed because of and for the local bauxite processing plant, CBG.

It was the home of the numerous expats picked throughout the world to work for CBG, and a few priviledged locals. Our lives revolved around the company, depending on it for all and anything…

We didn’t have any live tv chanel, no internet, no link to the rest of the world aside from short wave radio, if you had the patience to try to tune in Radio France International to catch the news through the interference noise, which we didn’t bother to try.

Any information about the outside world came by mail, and took about 3 weeks from our home country to our adoptive one.

So if we wanted entertainment, we had to organize it ourselves.  We had a social comitee who took care of arranging holiday events and activities to put a little life in our otherwise pretty quiet town.

Which brings me to my actual story.

One day, the comitee invited all the expats to join in for a great in and out of town jeep rally. It was the kind of thing that people craved, and the response was pretty unanimous…

The given day, at sunrise, all the jeeps were lined up at the marina, and we were waiting to get the rulings. The crowd was excited, the children running around, the adults checking the coolers to make sure there were enough beer and soda cans to go through the day.

All the teams had to figure out riddles to get from one checkpoint to the next, and a list of things to gather along the way… The people getting most of the items would win the rally, and the timing would be used if there was a tie.

The jeeps left the marina one by one, heading for the first challenge. Dad was driving us out of Kamsar, as mom went through the list of things, to find to try figure out where and when we needed to stop to check every item out.

It was party time in the vehicule! We wanted to win, not even knowing what we’d win… Just wanting to be the best… And we were in luck, because dad was one competitive guy!! We solved each puzzle, and went through every physical challenge, eating our sandwiches in the jeep not to loose any precious minute.

On our way back to the city’s marina, mom reminded dad that we had to stop by the local market to get a hen. It was on our list, an alive chicken that would be judged later on in the evening. A chicken beauty pageant that would give the winner extra points.

We chose wisely, a nice fluffy reddish hen, with a cute crest. I held it, back in the jeep, telling it how it would have to parade later on, but that it didn’t need to worry because I’d come with it!

I was thrilled with my new friend on my lap, since I loved every kind of animals, and never had the chance to hold a chicken in the past. I asked mom if we could keep it after the party, and she said she’d think about it… It wouldn’t be the first unusual pet we’d have…

I don’t have much souvenirs from the evening after the rally. I remember that we had tons of fun, and that in the end, we all won in some way. And then, people started going back home gradually.

Mom hadn’t decided if we’d get to keep our feathery friend yet, but we had to house it at least for the night. We couldn’t leave it loose in the backyard, because we also had a young basenji dog, Cannelle, that couldn’t be trusted around an alive chick.

We locked the chicken in the kitchen for the night, and all went to bed…

At the first ray of sunlight the next morning, the whole household woke up in shock. There was a terribly loud shriek in the house, resonating in every room… coming into short waves, it took us a little moment before we realized what was going on. Over there, in the kitchen, we didn’t have a simple hen as we thought… We had a rooster, and one with a loud voice! My parents were puzzled, wondering if they had to endure the crowing, or let the rooster out, not knowing  what Cannelle would make of it…

We all stayed up, listening to the neverending crowing coming from the kitchen, until Almamy, our gardener, arrived. Mom immediately took the bird, gave it to him, almost begging for him to take it to his place…

For once in my life, I wasn’t that sad to be denied a new pet…

I’d find another creature to bring back home, eventually!



Also available;


The black panther

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