I’ve been to many a livestock sale in my life, but none quite like the one I went to Friday. We travelled South about 3 hours to purchase more goats for a new group of beneficiaries. In America, the livestock sale would have consisted of covered barns with pens of stock from various farmers, complete with records and informed sellers. There would most likely be an auction, maybe a meal. Not so much here. We pulled into a large open stadium-like area where goats and cattle were all gathered together in various groupings – no pens in sight.
Just by stepping out of the truck, Sarah and I drew far more attention to ourselves than we ever would have liked, so we tried to lay low and stay “grey” and remain unnoticed. The farm manager was with us and he went off searching through the herds of goats for ones that met our qualifications. When he found one, another farm worker would escort the goat from the owner to our truck just to make sure the goat didn’t get swapped out for a lesser quality one on the way and to ensure that the quoted price remained the same. Sarah and I handled the money, so we literally just stood there and waited for the next goat to come so we could pay for it. As much as I would have liked to have been part of the action that would have only made things more difficult for everyone involved, so we attempted to be invisible instead.
Even though we were just standing there, we had our hands full trying to ignore the various people who came to talk to us. Many came to parade their goats in front of us and show us the goat’s teeth (to prove that they were still young) hoping that we would want to buy them. We hated to break the news that we weren’t the ones to be talking to in this situation. Others just came up to talk to and/or stare at the white people. Most of them were kids which we didn’t mind so much, but the older guys who came around felt it their duty to get rid of the little kids that were “bothering” us. That usually involved harsh words and a cattle whip popped in their direction. We didn’t like that so much and wished we could explain to the older guys that they were the ones that were annoying us and that we wished would go away, not the little kids. Besides fending off the onlookers there were also a couple of times we had to fend off the 1000+ lb bulls that had broken loose from their rope or owner and were coming our direction. We managed to make it out of there unscathed by bulls, whips, or boys.