The cow that has lost its tail has only its god to chase away the flies.
Fulani cattle men are widely known for their nomadic way of life. In Nigeria, they are mainly found in the northern states. Due to the dry dusty predominant weather condition in the north, these men tend to migrate to the south with their cattle in search of green pastures, leaving behind their families and friends. So wherever they find lush fields they rest for awhile (say two weeks or more) before moving on. It’s fascinating to note that these men also may decide sell some of their cows (which they do anyway) along the way–that is, if the terms are right. Regardless of their little or no educational background, they know what effect money can have on them as individuals and collectively as splinter groups.
Every herd has an alpha cow. Control the alpha and you have authority over the rest. The alpha is sold or killed in very extreme conditions. If not, it is supposed to be a link between each cattle man and the herd; a key to survival in the wild wide open.
As a boy, I used to make drawings of these men with their cattle. Unfortunately I have none at the moment. Then, I would be on the look out for them especially on our way to our hometown every Christmas or Easter. I still remember, and vividly too, how those cows would toss their tails in order to drive away their most unwanted visitors–the flies.
In life, we need all the help and support we can get from friends and loved ones. But sometimes, such acts of kindness elude us. For me, this is the worst part about being human. Like flies, pain, depression, and bad thoughts buzz around us in their hundreds/thousands. Day and night we may curl up feeling all alone and empty. But this shouldn’t be the end of the story. Someone once said: “Where science stops, faith/religion continues.” So like a tailless cow hoping to survive this inevitable onslaught, it’s best we trust and take an optimistic view.