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In the "Cult of Escapism": Bule

Friday, June 1, 2012


(From April 28th – May 3rd)

I was walking home last night when this dog started following me. This was a bizarre move on his part since I wasn't carrying any food, or any future intention to feed him. But there's something comforting about a dog companion, especially at night, so I didn't make to get rid of him.

When we got back, I made some food for myself and a little extra for him. He gobbled it up and then promptly fell asleep on my porch. He's pretty much been there ever since.

Today, he followed me while I made my daily tour of the town and everyone asked if he was mine. I could ask them the same thing.
Bule in his natural position

At one point, I was walking with my site-mate, Laura, and we started brainstorming names. She pointed out that Spot would be an obvious choice, given his propensity to leave giant spots of drool on my porch. Or maybe it was for the spots all over his body. I wanted Indiana (In Scottish accent: “We named the dog Indiana”) but he wouldn't respond when I called out Indiana or Indy. Laura then suggested Bule (pronounced 'booley') – the Ngabe word for belly – and I called out and he responded immediately. That settled it. He doesn't have much of a bule but he responds to it and it's kind of fun yelling out “Belly!”

This might be sort of a transit experience for Bule – maybe he wanders the community, looking for food and temporary masters. Maybe he'll be gone after a few days of this. Maybe he somehow knows that Peace Corps volunteers don't beat the shit out of dogs the way most of our community members do.

I've deliberately avoided acquiring an animal during my service. Too much work, too much commitment. Plus, I don't want to stress leaving my house for multiple days, because I do that at least once a month. But this dog just sort of showed up and now I feel obligated to take care of him.

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Thing is, I like Bule – I feel like we understand each other. We both plan our days around eating and we both like sleeping gratuitously and peeing on bushes. He's also big and chill. Little dogs always annoy me, yipping and jumping around for attention. Plus a little dog tried to bite me when I was seven and I've never quite gotten over it. Bule is quiet and when other little yippy dogs yip after him, he completely ignores them. He seems oblivious to their presence.

He also seemed to enjoy walking around the community almost as much as he enjoys laying on my porch, which is good if he wants to roll with me cause those two activities make up about 98% of my time.

I've decided that as long as he's around, I'll keep feeding him, but he has to fend for himself when I'm not here. We haven't exactly discussed this explicitly, but I assume if he's not in agreement then he'll wander off to the next house and slobber on their porch.


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