A poor African farmer has a very hard life. She has only one thin cow and is obliged to ensure that the cow is not ill and feels good. If it gets sick, she will have to call a vet for it. This will cost a lot of money. But the farmer still will have to call a vet, because the death of this cow will be a huge tragedy for a poor person. A few days after Christmas, the vet goes to the next call. The woman and her son are waiting for the doctor: their cow was to give birth to a calf two days ago, but this did not happen. So the doctor and the woman are driving along the broken roads to reach the farm on the outskirts of the town. They barely arrive at their destination place and get out of the car. Five minutes later, they walk out to the neat white house.Download Ebook Download AudioBook
The Festive Season in a Part of Africa by Tod Collins
If you are a poor farmer and you only have one cow, it is important that it doesn’t get sick. Because if it does, and you need to get a vet to come and see it, that can be very expensive.
But if you are afraid that your cow will die, then you must send for the vet – even if it is the festive season and Christmas was only two days ago…
Two days after Christmas a Zulu woman and her schoolboy son sat waiting for me to finish my morning’s clinic in Ondini. She wanted me to visit her old mother’s cow, which had a calf waiting to be born. But for two days now the calf would not come out, and the poor cow was getting very tired. ‘We have heard that you are a good vet,’ the woman said to me.
So off we went. The schoolboy in the front of my pickup, to show me the way, and the woman and my assistant Mbambo in the back. An hour of driving on bad roads full of holes and after that on dirt tracks. Then we stopped at an old empty kraal.
‘Where’s the cow?’ I asked the boy.
‘We walk a bit,’ he said.
So we took my vet’s black bags and we walked. Past other kraals with their fields and their fruit trees, and many of them with huts not lived in and falling down. We walked over rocks and by the side of rivers and after about forty-five minutes, we came to a lonely kraal. There were three white huts, a clean tidy yard, and there under the fruit trees was the poor old cow, looking very, very tired.
They brought out two nice wooden chairs with colourful seats from the middle hut. I put my black bags on them, but first, I said hello in the proper Zulu way to Granny, who owned the cow. ‘Inkosikazi’ I called her. She was a very small woman, but she was the head of her family in the kraal.
Then I looked at the cow and found that the calf was still alive, and very, very big. So, with Mbambo helping me, I put the cow to sleep and did a caesarean.
When I finished, there was a crowd of about fifty people watching – men standing, older women sitting on the ground, children sitting in the fruit trees. Now the bull calf was trying to stand on his feet, and shaking his head from side to side.
Someone brought a chair for Granny to sit on.
‘We must talk about money. Is business now,’ she called out so everyone could hear…