Two steps forward and one step back (here’s hoping its that way, and not the other way around)! But first, the good news: The pig-breeding was successful!
Our two sows were scheduled to deliver within days of each other, and last Tuesday, the first one delivered 10 healthy piglets! Woo-hoo! (Now, we [meaning Mike] are learning about castration – more on that another day).
Two mornings later, we were still waiting for news that the other sow had delivered her piglets (everyone had a guess as to how many we would have), but instead, we got the news that there had been a thief at our land the previous evening. He had attempted to take the pregnant sow as well as one of our cows. He was unsuccessful but uncaught.
However, the sow (the one Mike calls “the feisty one”) had had a rope tied around her middle, and resisted with all that was in her. Whoever it was managed to drag her only a few meters from her enclosure before abandoning her. There was terrible bruising and rope burn, and we weren’t sure if the piglets were injured, or if she was bleeding internally?
After a day and a half, we were hopeful, as she seemed to be ok, but after 2 days, we got word that she had died.
Its just a pig, you know, but this felt like an incredble injustice; a betrayal by the very community we are here to work with. More so since this was entirely senseless: the thief got nothing, and we lost a healthy mama pig and a whole litter.
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We are constantly being told things like, “In our culture, if X happens, you have to pay/donate/give Y.” (Sometimes truthfully, sometimes not.) For example, if someone is around/helps your cow give birth to a calf, you should buy them a drink. It often feels like we are constantly demanded of, possibly because we are viewed as an endless source of wealth? (Sometimes that is the case, but often it really is just the cultural norm of give and recieve.) In this case, though, when the man who sold us the pig heard that our pig had died, he said he was going to give us a new, female piglet. Because apparently if you sell someone an animal and it dies, you should, in a way, replace it.
Now, one piglet does not replace a pregnant mama about to give birth to a litter. But, in my heart, anyway, it was balm to the betrayal; a guesture of kindness, welcome, and justice to remind me that not all the steps we are taking are backwards.