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Friday, January 6, 2012

The Carabao and the Kano

A pic of me and my carabao named "Armalite" preparing the rice field
As I walked behind him with the metal hararow in one hand and the guide rope in the other he kept looking back at me after every two steps or so. At first he didn't want to make it obvious that he was staring at me so he pretended to just be swooshing flies away with his big wet nose. But he could not keep his eyes off of my white skin that seemed to defy the law of reason as he knew it. Who was this new man he thought?

My  Carabow was named "Armalite" and it was his first time to have a foreigner at the helm. I know he was confused for several reasons. One, he had never seen or heard of a man with money drive one of his kind, and two there was just something wrong with the color of the person driving him. Not to mention the size and weight of that person was larger than any he had drive him prior. The only other time he had seen a pinkish color creature was when he had passed by the pig pen.

The farm tractor gave me far more problems than Armalite and cost much more
We were doing something they called hararaow which is kind of like tilling the mud.  It actually was a first for the two of us because up until that day I had always used a small farm tractor when we prepared the rice fields. It had always been an interesting scene in our rice paddies in our farm. One half being done with modern means and the other done by carabow and hard sweaty work.To be honest I enjoyed far more driving Armalite than I did a small Iseki farm tractor. And the maintenance costs were far cheaper with Armalite.

After we got to know each other we became a good team

"Armalite" and I had given a good 8 hours of work that day making up nearly two hectares of rice paddies. At first in the morning he was so distracted by looking back at me while he was walking forward that it was slow going. At times he would just stop and stare as to say "who is this driving me?".  I learned a lot about Armalite that day. I did not realize that I needed to connect with him in order to get him to do his best. I thought if I made the right sounds and pulled the rope hanging from his nose that he would go faster and faster. Boy was I wrong. It had nothing to do about that. He would only go faster when he felt like it and if he liked me. So that day was not about me getting him to do what I wanted him to do, rather is was him getting me to do what he wanted me to do.

I am amazed at my confidence that day with Armalite. Here I was driving a 500kg creature that at anytime could kill me and I was treating him more or less like a pet. One quick turn of his head in anger and with those sharp horns my life could have been ended. Fortunately Armalite liked me and had a respect in knowing I was his rightful owner. So we had the relationship straight from the get go.

"Armalite" was far more patient that I realized that day. For I was informed that I was actually overheating him in my enthusiasm to get the job done. Now I understand he needs time in the mud pool for every one hour he worked. I was pushing him for two hours at a time. No wonder he kept looking back at me so strangely. I guess he felt entertained to have a foreigner driving him and he exerted extra patience that day.

They laughed at me all day seeing the Puti man planting rice

From that day on we became friends. I would visit him often in the back of our farm where he was tethered with a long rope. I remember buying him the best quality rope money could by as a Christmas present one year. He was also my confidant. I would talk to him about my problems and he would always give me that look with his big eyes as if to say " I understand".

At the moment I am far from Armalite and I hope to see him again one day. I have declined to sell him so that one day I can see him again. God bless my Carabow Mr. Armalite.

1 comment:

  1. what a nice name...."ARMALITE"....good thing the carabao didnt kick you thinking that its weird having a white guy behind him...good job by the way.
    i think you nailed it there trying "ARARO" or "hararaow" as you call it...