Back Home on the Farm – Marnie

PARSA's first cow - mischievous and knowing it!

PARSA’s first cow – mischievous and knowing it!

I have had the pleasure of overseeing our little farm while Yasin is in Badakshan. And I have forgotten how much time it takes to negotiate with our operations staff on tasks that need doing. Most of them have been with us over a decade and frankly speaking…the nature of Afghans is simply not really cut out for taking a directive lying down without discussion. What I love about our staff…so today I go to the farm to talk with our staff and it goes like this:

Me: This mother cow is going to have her baby very soon, Azizullah. Why isn’t her room ready?”
A: She is not! She is not going to have her baby soon!
Me: (looking at the panting cow with terribly distended stomach) She is Azizullah. I think she is in labor, and she needs to be put in a clean room by herself tonite. AND this is something Yasin told you last week.
A: Well, Mr. Kushon (head of Marastoon) told me to work on the fence today with Ismat.
Me: And does Mr. Kushon give you your paycheck? Why does no one know that you are working on this? AND Yasin told you to do this last week!!!
A: Because Mr. Kushon asked me too!!!
Me: Ok. This cow goes to bed in her own clean room tonite, Azizullah because she is going to have a baby.
A: When?
Me: Soon!!! No!!! Cow goes in clean room TONITE because baby is coming SOON!!!
A: (huffs off ) I knew that!!!

Next Day….

Cow aziz _1759This is Azizullah and the Yellow Mama Cow, who now has her own clean room, bathtub for food during the day and honored spot near the wall! Yeah! We await the birth of her baby without anxiety.


I spent more quality time with our staff today I uncovered more mysteries for us to solve:

Cow and Daoud


On feeding the cows: Giving them access to water during the day, and regular amounts of food makes them sick.


Cow ladies


On letting cows out in the pasture for exercise – they are very Big and Naughty and drag the staff around doing bad things that can’t be discussed. We wouldn’t want that!


On why there is a pigeon coop and pigeons in with the cows- They are Gul Ahmads (the driver) Special Pigeons.


I have reached out to Dr. Sophia and Dr. Moh for advice and thank them for responding. But from their responses I gather I am not alone in my management challenges. We may have to start a support group for professionals working in the animal husbandry sector here.And finally, thank you Tamim for helping me while Yasin is gone!!

Subscribe to our Living and Working in Afghanistan Blog.

Cow and tongue