Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Cow Herd has Spoken

Lately I have been having serious doubts about my lowly human existence.  I seek a life where I just have to think about my next meal and not worry about my bank balance, where I can plonk myself in the middle of the road and swat flies away with my tail, and have a bunch of uneducated buffoons trying to convince the world of my importance.   Ah yes, being a PCV may fit this bill instead of becoming a cow, but I still want to ponder.

Ok, hold your bullshit please, there's more to come! In India, or at least in the Hindu religion, the cow is honored, sacred, and given special feedings at festivals all over India---they think that only a cow can save mankind, that by just touching a cow, you can reduce your blood pressure, kids who drink milk are more obedient, and foreign breeds of cows can cause heart attacks and autism. I wonder how many kids I worked with in California drank a lot of milk!
It makes me wonder how African cows fare against the Indian cow. I don't see kids with autism here, though many middle age people die of heart attacks. Growing up in New Jersey, and later living in coastal California, I haven't had much interaction with cows, in fact, being a vegetarian for so long, I never gave a cow a second thought. But living in a rural, agricultural village in Africa, cows have become a part of my daily life---so much so that I usually fall asleep to their moans, bells, and moos, and in the day time, they meander the paths just like me. At twilight, the cows mingle with people gossiping at the watering holes, and often, if your gate is open, they know exactly who has good grass and who doesn't.

Keoki is a cow master when they come in our yard. He loves romping them away, and is so proud after doing so. But one day, Keoki is out meandering himself, and a herd of cows are in my yard. Because I was putzing around my house, I hadn't seen them, and suddenly, I hear this clonking noise, then the clonking got closer and louder, and then my putzing stopped, turning around to a cow having walked up on my porch and right through my door.  Yep, you got it, right into my living room! You have no idea what it feels like to see a cow walking into your house.  Initially, I just wanted to run and grab my camera, but I keep it locked up, so it would have taken a few moments, and god only knows what the cow would've done.  So I just stood there staring, eye to eye with this cow, a cow with horns nonetheless. She looked as shocked as I was! In all curiosity, I wanted to see what the cow would do, and on the other hand, I definitely did not want cow poop in my house, so a decision was made to get the cow out of here. I went right up to it, told it to leave, and as it was backing out of the door, it stopped, glared at me, and gave the loudest moooooooo, and looking outside, the other cows were watching and decided to chime in with mooing me—or probably booing me for not letting their dad in. Whatever happened to Botswana hospitality! Yes, the cow herd had spoken! Maybe I should have let the cow and his family in for some afternoon tea and crumpets, but I still haven't figured out if these cows are as sacred as the Indian cow!

By India's standards, it would be great to be a cow since the cow always gives and feeds, representing life and the support of life.  So it was most likely a good omen that the cow walked into my house. Maybe he sensed that I was pondering my life as a cow, or maybe he had another message---stay a human, be gentle, and connect with nature, just like a cow---don't worry about your next dollar, just chill, eat simply, plop and relax!     

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