The Blind Cow and the Unbothered Owner

Amanya Aklam

© Copyright 2023 by Amanya Aklam


Photo by cottonbro studio at Pexels.
Photo by cottonbro studio at Pexels..
 Just like any other calf, Kahuuga was jolly, playful and beautiful. Kahuuga was a cross breed with white patches in its dark skin complexion. It was graced with a star sign colour brown in the forehead, an indicator that it was meant to be a cow of great significance to the herd. Kahuuga was a cross breed who never fell sick as she grew into an admirable heifer of the herd. She always was the leader regardless of her young age and she directed the herd (including her mother nkuungu and her elder brother Rugaaju) to the water points, the paddocks with fresher pastures and to the kraal late in the evening.

As an old saying goes that good things don’t last longer, Kahuuga’s admirable lifestyle and queen-sque role was checked on by a strange wave of illnesses. When she was six months pregnant, she fell in a ditch and hurt her hind toes and this took her some good months to heal, since healing was by her ownself’s management and not the owner’s. The owner always shouted at the limping Kahuuga as he led them to water points. He hurled insults blaming Kahuuga’s slow healing to her laziness and thrashing her back to be active and carry on with her leading role in farm activities.

As Kahuuga was steadily progressing and having her toes back to normal, she gave birth. And she gained a new status as a mother cow; and nolonger a heifer. She became Mpuuga and atleast her new status helped her to nurse the wounds and frustration she had received during her sickness.

But this joy again was short lived as Mpuuga developed a pain in her left eye that could keep her in tears the whole day.

She became frustrated again, never played with her darling calf and spent most of the time sleeping in the yard without eating even.

The owner never bothered to care and all he knew was pulling Mpuuga’s tits to as far as their elastic limit was in order to get milk. Poor Mpuuga, with her tearing eyes , her legs tied with a rope and her tail fastened on the pole, she just shook her head to get herself rid of a hoard of flies that had taken advantage of her rotting eye. And each time she shook her head, the owner thrashed her heavily on the back as he hurled insults telling her to stop disturbing his milking and rubbishing her head shaking as a pathetic act of stupidity and weakness.

After milking, Mpuuga could just stand still as tears rolled down and just look on as her calf suckled her with great force and head buts that could almost send her ailing body into a heavy fall.

As time went on Mpuuga’s second eye caught the disease too and in just a few months, she was totally blind.

It was so sad seeing the once jolly calf, the kraal leader, the beautiful star-headed queen of the herd now a blind heifer, wrapped in sorrow, out of the owner’s favour, always lagging behind and moving to nearer places of the farmland as its movement was only facilitated by it’s sense of smell.

The owner wasted no single day to care about the helpless creature. All he knew was milk and milk it regardless of whether it had eaten or had water to drink or not.

On a one sunny afternoon, as I drew water from the well hurriedly with a jerrycan, running away from the spot where the famous cobra used to drink, my eyes met the ugliest of the ugly scenes. On the sides of the village well, there helplessly lay the blind Mpuuga trapped in twigs, screaming for help. I rushed to the scene, directed it to where the well-side was less steep, put it on the bank, gave it enough water on a basin and reported the incident to Mr. Mureefu; the owner.

At first, Mureefu barked at me telling me to mind my own business always while at the well-side. But I had come to save the poor animal and no amount of threat or intimidation could shake me any longer.

I talked to him about animals’ safety and care rights and I told him to reflect on her Christian values of loving the neighbour as he loves himself and I challenged him that apart from his family, Mpuuga who gave him several litters of milk on a daily basis as well as dung as manure for his coffee gardens was the other neighbour.

I left when he was already a changed man and I volunteered to refer him to a veterinary doctor who had worked on our cow that had the same problem and its sight was recovered.

The following day I checked in at the Mureefu’s with the veterinary doctor and we cheerfully headed to the kraal, the poor cow was worked upon and in a few weeks, Mpuuga had had its old fires rekindled.

Jumping, up and about, leading the entire herd to the fresh fields, and the water points, it was the cheerful old Kahuuga again on the farm.

I did my part in extending humanistic values beyond humans and I was super proud of the achievement.

I am Amanya Aklam, a page poet, short stories writer and young researcher in fields of Men and Masculinities, Critical Studies, Gender and Intersectionality. I am a Ugandan young scholar and writer affiliated to Makerere University, Kampala.

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