around 4PM i headed out to the valley to check up on my garden that i've neglected for over two weeks now. as i headed out, i saw jamm rekk bumming around at the entrance of the compound. i said "HI" to her and she meowed back. then she started to follow me.
i went past fallou dia's compound (the last compound at the edge of the village) and into the bush and she continued to follow me, meowing all along. of course, i talked back to her and asked if she was coming. she meowed back and looked at me with earnest eyes. so i kept going. every few steps she would stop and sniff around and meow at me until i stopped. i kept expecting her to give up and go home but every time i did, she would suddenly burst into a leaping bound towards me, full speed and her tail all puffed up. then she would stop (a few times she ran straight into me), look at me expectantly and meow. we did this all the way to the valley -- me walking, her stopping and then galloping over the high weeds to catch up with me. the sand was hot and a few times she had a rest in the shade. since i wanted to see if she would actually follow me all the way there, i stopped and waited for her. i don't think she's ever been this far out into the bush before because at times she seemed hesitant and unsure of her surroundings.
when we got to the bissap field she either got tired or scared because she laid down and didn't want to get up. since we were almost at the field and i didn't want to leave her in a place that is known to have snakes, i picked her up and carried her for a bit until she started to squirm and decided to walk again. i was pretty pumped that she follow me like that. i mean, she's followed me around the compound and to the robinet and the other side of the village -- but never like this, with the faithfulness and companionship of say, a dog. moreover, she talked to me the entire time! meowing and chirping and looking at me communicatively. it was pretty amazing -- this high level of interaction.
anyway, got to the field and it was a mess. weeds everywhere and a whole bunch of stuff dead. whoops. in a sense i had to restart a lot of my work but i didn't mind because the solitude was nice and because i was alone, could work at my own pace and comfort. there were starlings, kites and hornbills everywhere and it was really nice -- me, the birds singing, and my faithful cat.
she was pretty pooped out and hot and immediately went to lie in the bushes for shade and rest. every now and then she came to see what i was up to, meowing and sniffing the weeds and chewing on some grass. the she would go catch and eat some grasshoppers and find another place to rest. she got up and followed me every time i got up to go to a different part of the field.
eventually she seemed to be getting a little bored and impatient and started to get in my way -- rubbing against my legs and hands while i tried to reseed. i think she was trying to tell me she wanted to go home. she kept this up for a while, purring like mad, and marking my garden bed with her little paw prints.
when it was time to go home she seemed to know and immediately got up and trotted out ahead of me while i shut the gate and took a last look at the bush just as the sun started to set. she raced me home this time. instead of trailing after me and catching up, she tore off into the bush, plowing through the high grasses and millet stalks and hiding in them until i showed up and then jumping out and racing ahead again. she was having a blast and i laughed at her crazy sideways bounding and frizzed up tail with her ears flat against her head. she was happy though and i could hear her purring as she waited for me in anticipation.
when we got back to the village she slowed down and seemed really tired. everybody saw us and asked me where i had gone. when i told them the valley they then asked if Jammo (the nickname they've given her) had gone with me there. when i said "yes," they were amazed that she followed me and accompanied me all the way there and back. they all laughed at how tired out she was and even when i was back at my hut showering, i could still hear them discussing how she had followed me all the way out there.
not to get all crazy cat lady or anything, but it was pretty amazing that a cat would do this. considering that life in the village can get pretty lonesome, i'm not afraid to admit that she's probably one of my closest friends and i am going to miss her like mad when i go back to america for good. what a little cutie!
...and i think she's pregnant...?