It all started with the disappearing dinner rolls.
No, actually, it began when we woke one day to find a bite taken from the apple left on our kitchen counter overnight.
(Interesting, how many archetypal stories start with an apple incident.)
Well, our most recent adventure in the Andes got going with exactly that kind of event, when one morning we saw someone had nibbled on our Macintosh—a midnight snack attack carried out undercover of Cuenca’s darkness.
Then, when Sara got up the following day to discover an entire bag of whole wheat rolls had disappeared while we slept, she knew we were in trouble.
A very hungry someone was hiding somewhere, eating us out of house and home-baked buns.
So Sara did what any reasonable, bread-loving gringo would. She pulled out the refrigerator, looking for said someone—
—only to discover this desecration of all things “panederia:”
So again, she did what a good gringo should—
She woke up her rodent-ready partner—“Holy rat tail, Bat-Wife,” she yelled.
So, we did what gringo lesbians do—
—we built a rat trap.
Okay, actually, it was a chute constructed of left-over lumber, meant to tunnel the apple-loving rodent out our nearby front door.
But while we were assembling that rat-chute, we heard this out in our court-yard—
(Click http://www.mgpr.org/newsite/GP_Info/Hungry%20Pig.htm to listen.)
“What’s that noise?” I asked.
“Probably a bird,” said Sara.
But when it persisted, Bat-Wife Sara went to investigate. She discovered this:
Be assured, your eyes are not deceiving you. In a country where roasted guinea pig is considered a delicacy, when a baby “cuy” appears at your door, you do what you can to save him from a fate that IS death. (“Cuy” is the Andean Spanish word for “guinea pig.”)
You usher out one rodent, only to invite in another.
Yes, we adopted the infant, still with a scab attached to his belly button. We have NO idea where he came from—our albino angel, white-haired and chatty—but we named him Anderson Cooper—after the CNN anchor with the cuy-like giggle.
We constructed a play pen in the yard.
The dogs got to know him.
I’ve been hand-feeding him.
Guinea pig sites on the internet recommend carrot or pea baby food or canned pumpkin for abandoned newborns unable to nurse. Since we had neither, I went to the market and purchased fresh vegetables that I cooked until soft and then blended into syringable-substance, I’m now feeding Anderson 4 times per day.
We even constructed him a home from lumber left over from our bed-building project.
He has places to play.
Places to eat.
And a place just to sleep.
We love the little guy—though he’s exhausting me with needing to be held and needing to eat—3 times during the first night alone.
So, it seems that Anderson Cooper has come to Cuenca, in a round-about kind of way.
He may not be broadcasting the news, exactly, but he’s certainly prompted this cuy query.
Why does he poop and pee ONLY on me, and NEVER on Sara?
When’s the last time you rescued anything? Have you ever had an unwelcome visitor in your home? Did you own any breed of pet rodent when you were a kid?
45 minutes before this post was scheduled to go live, Sara woke to find Anderson had died overnight in his little bed. It would seem he was what’s called a “lethal” guinea pig. Sometimes all white cuy are blind and/or deaf and have internal deformities that make their lives quite short. We had convinced ourselves this was not the case with Anderson, though yesterday I had begun to suspect he was deaf. He was probably let loose just after birth because whoever raises cuy in our neighborhood knew his fate. We are trying to comfort ourselves knowing we loved and nurtured him, and he had a beautiful final week–one with lots of hand feeding and cuddling–even last night after feeding time I held and loved him longer than usual before putting him to bed for the final time. I’m so sorry to post this fun piece and then be forced to share this tragic news.