Friday, July 4
Zebrabar, Mouit, Senegal

My notebook may not be the most valuable possession I have with me, but it’s the most important. For the last 10 days, it has served as a journal, a reporter’s notebook and a phone book with necessary contacts and addresses.

So I keep a pretty close eye on this thing, making sure not to forget it in the back of a taxi, let it float away with the tide or disappear in the hands of a thief.

What I hadn’t considered was that it might get stolen by a donkey.

As I sat in a hammock at Zebrabar reading this evening, I noticed the camp’s pet donkey, named Piano, who earlier had tried to take off with the keys to my bungalo, was nosing around in my bag.

Before I had a chance to hoist myself out of my lounging spot, he had my notebook in his mouth! I leapt up from the hammock, and a scene ensued that had even me laughing afterwards: Me chasing the donkey through the courtyard while the resident cook yelled, “Peeeeannooo!”

I was a mule in college (Go Colby mules!), but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a donkey in person. In fact, I’m not sure I even believed it was a real animal, but more of a cartoon creation.

Not that this is any ordinary donkey. The year-old animal, who has been raised around dogs, thinks he is one. He nudges the dogs to play, then runs around with them in the sand. He makes sounds that resemble barking when he wants to get the dogs’ attention. In retrospect, he probably was trying to get my attention by stealing my notebook.

I bring to you… Piano!

PianoLounging in hammock at Zebrabar

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