Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Is there bird flu in Libya?

I love to walk. I can walk for miles and miles and never get tired. I find it a way to blow off steam and give myself time to think. Most people in Libya don't walk and usually if they do it's only a means to get from one place to another - not for fun.

While I walk I notice all kinds of things. It seems every time I go out I have a new adventure. Lately while walking I've noticed dead wild birds on the roadside. I don't think I've ever noticed dead birds along the way before, maybe the bird flu panic has me just watching out for such things, especially since bird flu has been reported in Egypt - there might always have been birds from time to time and I never paid any attention.

I was visiting with my mother-in-law and we were talking about her chickens - she's one of these typical old Libyan ladies that has an affection for chickens and always has some running around on the farm. She said her chickens were all fine. I mentioned the dead birds I had seen and she said how funny that was because she's seen dead birds on her way to the mosque.

All this got me thinking I should investigate the possibility that something is up. So I contacted the person who is in charge of such things and he asked me to pick up the birds for him. He sent me a few pairs of latex gloves and I went off to hunt down the dead birds I had seen.

The neighbours all think I'm a bit weird I suppose and now I imagine they think I'm even weirder - off running around the neighbourhood wearing latex gloves and searching the sidewalks for dead birds! The bird I had seen on the corner of my street was gone, but nearby was another bird - different species but it was certainly dead. Two of the neighbour boys helped me collect it and I got it home and called to ask that it be picked up and taken for analysis. - I didn't take my camera along as just running around collecting dead birds was enough to keep the neighbourhood's tongues wagging.

Someone also had told me that they had seen quite a few dead pigeons recently in the medina and I asked about this and was informed that the pigeon population in Libya is suffering from a epidemic of Newcastle Disease, otherwise known as NDV and not bird flu.

After a few days I hadn't heard any news about the bird I had bagged so I called up to inquire and was informed that the sample was too old to test and so they just threw it away. Oh well... I did my best. So still we should consider ourselves free of bird flu.

I'll still keep watching out, as usual.


  1. How are your daughters going to get a good match if you keep scooping up dead birds?

    "isn't your mother the weird american lady that collects dead birds?" they might ask.

  2. Well done Khadija. I thing everyone in this country should be aware and do the same to help in protecting their community and the world from such disease. What Kristen says is a good joke. In fact they shouldn’t be interested in such empty minds and should be proud of their caring mum.

  3. Oh my ! Eloise what have gone and done now ? To protect and perserve the innocent, I will remain.... Anonymous

  4. i got an email from this libyan mailing list with the same title after I had read your blog entry, I was like "Oh my gosh...khadijateri asked the same question this morning."
    Anyways, I opened the email and it was actually your blog entry!!!


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