I went to see an old friend yesterday.  Unfortunately, she was not in.  She was in the bush catching mice.

Okambihi, Herero for “cat”, came to the farm last year.  She was given to retirees living in the back pastures from their children living in town.  I was thrilled upon our first meeting.  Everyone has dogs around here for guarding or hunting.  Hardly anyone has cats and when mine were still in the States, the visits to the little, fuzzy, orange lady filled the hole just a little.

Soon, I extended my burgeoning Herero vocabulary to be able to ask the old folks “Okambihi uripi?”, “Where is the cat?”  Eventually, when we stopped by to bring them sugar or meat, they would just automatically bring the cat out.  She was always very accommodating, and would even purr as I scratched and squeezed her.  Everyone else talked about the weather or the cows, I played with the cat.  I got the feeling her owners thought I was not playing with a full set of marbles.

Her stomping grounds, there by the deep green trees. To the right are goats and chickens, to the left, the cows, below is a neighbor, and otherwise just many miles of wilderness.

These days it is still fun to see her even though I have my own cats here.  She’s always in a good mood and comes over to say hello.  Although she has never gotten very big, she is fearless. 

Quite comfortable on the roof
Inspecting the underside of our car

Just recently, we discovered her people have given her a name, Meid.  It means something like “servant girl”, in Afrikaans.  I assume it comes from her mousing duties.  I don’t know if it’s better or worse than “cat” but I think I’ll stick to Okambihi.  Nonetheless, I think they appreciate her company.  They say if we want any more pictures of her, we’ll have to make a copy for them. 

Meid and her mom


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