Friday, May 23, 2008

the cows.

while i'm talking about the fam, i might as well share their source of income... and probably clarify something.

my in-laws are not poor. they are just campesinos, farmers, people who live off the land. there exists in this country an extreme poverty - the kind of poverty that eats away at souls because there is no money and no hope. a poverty that means kids don't go to school because they have to work, because if they don't work, they don't eat. there are families who live on, yes - ON -trash dumps, who live in riverbeds because the land is free, girls destined to be sold into the rampant humantrafficking trade.

but my in-laws are not that kind of poor. they own some land, work decent jobs and have extra-income from their farm.

and that brings me to the cows, and my youngest brother-in-law. he's really a step-brother, but its all the same to the family. you know, except when he denies his siblings because he's kind of crazy. but its more him than the rest of the family.

there are cows. in total now, i think there are 18. 3 bulls and some ladies and some babies. i don't really know much about cows. in fact, i don't know much about anything farm related. i didn't even know that pigs weren't always pink or that chickens could fly... and by the way, friends, just because you see a chicken in a tree doesn't mean there is a tornado a'coming. it's just not true.

the day starts with the roosters crowing. it's not really that early if you consider that without electricity there's no way to stay up way past, say, 8:30. the "men," which usually includes a 7 year old nephew, head out to milk the cows. milk is a big source of income and they sell about 65 bottles of milk a day to local producers who then sell it to milk companies.

what strikes me though, is that its not all about the money. they sell 65 bottles a day. the rest is portioned off to neighbors who don't have cows. starting around 7am, kids start showing up with pitchers and amalio's step mom starts giving it away.

there's no recompense for the milk, no charge. there's no one keeping tabs on who took what and what they owe us... and none of this petty, "well, i give you milk, so give me your eggs." its fair. its natural, instinctual, i think for people who don't have anything and who live with and around other people who don't have anything to share everything.

i struggle with that a lot. i have a lot of things. a lot. and when i need to share it, it's really hard for me. i'm a packrat. ask my parents, they'll tell you. i save things. i might need it one day.

but it shouldn't be like that. not with material things, and not with what we can give of ourselves. i might have milk today to share... but tomorrow i might need your kind words, prayers. even if you don't want to share them with me.

i was going to write about the baby. that's what they call him, my youngest brother-in-law, but i've run out of words. i'll write about him later.

1 comment:

A New York girl said...

My boyfriend's family is from a rural part of the DR, and I think it's beautiful how they share with their neighbors and their neighbors share with them. The rest of us could learn something from them.