Young Herdsmen

by Benny Law March. 12, 2020 485 views

I remember when I was small, my mom told me a story about how my grandfather (my mom's dad) used to look after cattle in his village when he was a kid. One time, he was trying to ride one of the animals which happened to be ill-tempered, and he was thrown to the ground and got hurt quite badly. But he recovered and went on to live a pretty interesting and productive life. (He raised a big family of 13!)

In many cultures, children are often tasked with taking care of domestic animals in their family. Although they usually do it out of necessity as their way of life, I think in some way, it can also be a blessing. Spending time with animals in the outdoors surely beats spending hours playing video games in front of a computer.

Just look at the faces of these young herdsmen in the following picture. I met them when I was taking a walk in a Masai village in Kenya. They may not have the latest video games and electronic toys, but they sure look happy.

Young Masai herdsmen who were happy to pose for my camera. Children are so innocent and friendly. You may think they look poor, but they are actually much richer than many kids from wealthy families in their life experiences.

Young Masai herdsmen who were happy to pose for my camera. Children are so innocent and friendly. You may think they look poor, but they are actually much richer than many kids from wealthy families in their life experiences.

On a side note, the herd that these kids were tending looked quite skinny to me. I'm not sure why. Although the place looked a bit dry, I could still see grass and vegetation around. Maybe the grass isn't the right type for grazing.

Some cows in the herd were white. I don't recall seeing any white cows in Canada although I know they exist.

Some cows in the herd were white. I don't recall seeing any white cows in Canada although I know they exist.

As for me, I grew up in a concrete jungle (Hong Kong, to be exact, which is one of the most densely populated cities in the world). Fortunately, my dad loves the outdoors and he provided a lot of opportunities for me to be exposed to nature, so I didn't grow up as a bookworm. I never had the experience of tending cattle, but my childhood is filled with exciting fishing, hiking, and camping trips that got me deeply in love with nature. That's a blessing for which I will be eternally grateful.

What about your childhood? Do you have a lot of fond memories filled with animals and adventures in nature?

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Aleksandra Górna Ozdemir 1 year, 5 months ago

Very nice story. I grew up in small town but in house with garden. My granny used to take care of the garden and it was filled with flowers, fruits and veggies. I love nature.

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Aleksandra Górna Ozdemir 1 year, 5 months ago

Thank you so much for your comment, Aleksandra. I'm sure your garden must have provided you with lots of beautiful memories filled with love.

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
Antonio Gil 1 year, 6 months ago

Life can take so many forms - urban, rural, and so on. We just have to try to enjoy it. Love the pictures Benny

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Antonio Gil 1 year, 6 months ago

Thank you very much, Antonio.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Ros Mercury 1 year, 6 months ago

Oh my the first one is really a super capture of these children.  
My dad used to say that at times children (6 or 7 yrs old) were taken out of school and brought high in the mountains to care for the family animals.  Those poor children would not come down to the village until the reach late teens, yes mid teens, parents would come take the animals and bring smaller ones to grow...  This really took place in the 1910 - 1935.   As for myself I did not grow up on farms or country, but in the city so me and animals are a little sceptical of each other when we see eye to eye.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Ros Mercury 1 year, 6 months ago

Thank you so much, Ros. It's so interesting to hear these stories from different people with different background. I'm sure if you had more time and opportunities to get closer to some animals, you would enjoy it too. 🙂

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Gone Fishing Without A Pole 1 year, 6 months ago

These images are fantastic Benny. Your Lumix is putting out some very clear and impressive images. I grew up next to a Dutch dairy farm and a thoroughbred race horse ranch in southern california back in the day when you could still find open space. Your statement about animals being a blessing is so true- they enrich our human experience.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Gone Fishing Without A Pole 1 year, 6 months ago

That sounds like a pretty wonderful childhood you have, Buster. Actually, your whole life looks full of rich experiences from what I've seen here. My Lumix has served me well, but it's been retired since I got my Sony a6000. All the images I post here have been enhanced in post-processing. Still learning to use Affinity Photo, but I'm loving it more and more.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Gone Fishing Without A Pole Replied to Benny Law 1 year, 6 months ago

I had a lot of exposure to adventure and a best friend who shared the feeling. Playing in haystacks, bareback riding cows, horses and donkeys might have had something to do with it too! Im still reviewing all my camera options to purchase another since my previous camera was stolen (actually I left it a restaurant in Europe and then went back to retrieve it and it was gone- everyone played dumb)

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't know what I like more about this post - the photos or learning more about you from reading it! It is so interesting to hear people's family and life stories. We all have so much in common but also so many individual variations. smile It seems like something important and vital gets snuffed out in children the more we teach them to be glued to their screens instead of out in the world or playing. I really love #1
I didn't grow up in a family that was overly interested in nature, so no camping or hiking, but I spent lots of time outside playing in Virginia. I also nagged my parents enough to get riding lessons and learned to take care of the horses at the barn that way. We couldn't talk my dad into a pet until I was in high school - and still, he made my brother and I write up and sign a contract detailing exactly how we would hold up our end of the bargain before he agreed. He ended up on friendlier terms with the cat than expected. grinning

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Bethany Plonski 1 year, 6 months ago

You made me laugh about the pet contract thing!smile My daughter is going to get a dog after she gets married in April, and you've made me wonder if I should make her sign a contract too because I'm afraid she may end up asking me to look after the dog for her when she's not around (she has frequent business trips on her current job). I knew you like horses, but I didn't know you actually took riding lessons and have taken care of horses! That would have been a dream come true for me! (My other dream of course is learning how to fly.)

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Bethany Plonski Replied to Benny Law 1 year, 6 months ago

How funny! I know quite a few "pet grandparents" who have ended up in similar situations, but I'm not sure they mind it all that much. smile If she travels a lot, there are lots more doggie daycare type arrangements these days that can even be fun for social dogs. At the time (and for some years after), I thought our cat contract was ridiculous, but now there is a sweetness to it. I didn't always enjoy learning responsibility, but I'm glad my parents made a point of it. 
Riding lessons were my reason for living back in those days. smile Still crossing my fingers that you'll be able to go and experience that joy!

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Don Baird 1 year, 6 months ago

I grew up on a farm. No TV and nearest neighbor a mile away. Lots of animals and the good life.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Don Baird 1 year, 6 months ago

Oh wow, we have another blessed soul here! Did you have siblings to play with, or just the animals?

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Don Baird Replied to Benny Law 1 year, 6 months ago

No siblings. 2 invisible friends Simon and Porky.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Richard Manning 1 year, 6 months ago

Great photos!  Ive traveled but never been to Africa.  Looks like a great adventure.  Thanks for sharing.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Richard Manning 1 year, 6 months ago

Thanks for reading my post and leaving a comment, Richard! Hope you get to explore Africa some day.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab 1 year, 6 months ago

I have absolutely no idea why you say you can not write (I saw your last comments on Sherry's). This post is very heartwarming and once again very interesting. Love the way the little guy in pink #1 is holding his hand to stop the photography but the expression on his face and the way his eyes are towards the older boy using the same gesture, definitely shows...he has no clue why he is putting his hand up, except to copy his friend/sibling.
My childhood just like yours was not spent in front of the TV or video games ( no I am not that old...we did have TVs when I was growing up...video games not so much😁) but was spent playing outside and traveling a lot. Maybe why I like traveling to this day. My kids were raised pretty much the same way, the T V or video games was not their babysitter. At the time they were not too happy with me nor my husband, since most of their friends were allowed to veg in front of the "talking screen" 😆 and they were not. But today I know they are appreciative of that fact. 
And to add my two sense......I am wondering if it is a Masai tradition ...keeping the herd underfed. Because this is not first time I have seen this occurrence. Thanks for sharing some more of your memories.

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Camellia Staab 1 year, 6 months ago

I posted my response Benny, then read the rest....this is exactly why I like photoblog...it's not the number of times you get the thumbs up or the hearts...it's the possibility of learning about each others' lives, and your posts has done just that smile

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Camellia Staab 1 year, 6 months ago

Thank you so much for your kind words, Camellia. I am a person of very few words, and it does take a lot of effort for me to write anything. When I joined PB, I was going to just let my photos do all the talking. Somehow, I ended up putting in the extra time to put something down in words to go with the images, but believe me, that's not the usual me. Anyway, I have really enjoyed the mutual sharing of people's life stories here. I have learned that to take something, I need to give something too. 🙂

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Benny Law 1 year, 6 months ago

heartpulse

1 year, 6 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Benny Law 1 year, 5 months ago

Benny, I see you in the background.....checking things out. You've been missed, but I am glad you are back. Hope you are doing well :)

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
Benny Law Replied to Camellia Staab 1 year, 5 months ago

Thank you so much for your kind words, Camellia! I have just been super busy, totally caught up in the changes created by the current pandemic. I will pop in whenever I can. Good to know you are safe and well.

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Benny Law 1 year, 5 months ago

Glad to know all is well. Take care of yourself Benny smile

1 year, 5 months ago Edited
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