Thursday, 21 August 2008

Two kids, twelve cows, and a swing

Watching the herd all morning can get boring.

So, they made this.

For a few months, since the end of the harvest, and that the fields are no longer off-limits to the animals, Smain and Houria have been spending their morning on our land, with their herds. They come early, at 7AM – which, given the, huh, jet-lag, are really 6AM for them -, and leave before the sun gets too hot, at around 11.

Houria is our neighbors’ daughter, and has to take care of a dozen of cows. Smain’s herd is much smaller since he only has… one cow.

This cow is very important.

Smain is Bachir’s younger brother. Bachir is the keeper of our house, and also often a worker. Their family is poor. I mean, most people in the area could be considered as poor, according to European standards. The reality is that a lot of people here are doing fine. That is, when they have a piece of land, which means wheat, hay, and maybe a few olive trees. When they have big farms, and tractors.

But Bachir’s family have none of this. In that case, men just wait for a job in somebody else’s fields, and sometimes, there is no work at all – and in Bachir’s family, “men” means himself, he’s 18,and his older brother, who spend a lot of time in Casablanca, trying to earn more money; their father is very old, and can’t work a lot.

Thanks to some microcredit, Bachir was able to loan the few thousands dirhams he needed to buy a cow. And a cow, as I said, is important. It means milk, whey, butter. It means that the family is getting richer, because of Bachir’s hard work.

With only one cow to watch, Smain’s job is much easier than Houria’s.

Actually, none of them is stressed out because of the job. They play with Houria’s little cousins, in the shade of our house.(link). They chat for hours. They fall asleep in the field – and then I understand why our reeds have been eaten…

And sometimes, they make a swing.

Climbing in the tree was a lot of fun too…

... as well as landing on the ground.

1 comment:

Maria said...

They are sweet!