Hunting the Water Buffalo

The time had come. The rains had let up for a couple days, and we thought ourselves hearty enough to tromp through the mud in search of the water buffalo. BJ, one of the long-term guys here, took us down to the tidal river that runs alongside the hospital property, and we set off barefoot (apparently shoes can very easily get lost in the mud) through the kahl. A kahl is a wide marshy expanse where the Bangladeshis grow their rice, sometimes harvesting three times annually in this fertile country. Through this expanse run some rivers, which irrigate the crops and serve for crab and shrimp fishing, some very small homes, and slightly-raised footpaths a couple feet wide that served as our trails.

Many things happened on this lovely journey, but finding a water buffalo was not one of them. We had seen them along the roads, but thought it would be more fun to see them in the rice paddies. We saw them off in the distance a few miles, but decided not to make the trek. We did see lots of goats, cows, crabs, and even a fish that walks on land (very weird). As we hiked along, our presence had a pronounced pied-piper effect on the children of the paddies, and they walked behind us in droves, wanting to have their pictures taken, and showing us the crabs they caught.

O Water Buffalo! Behemoth of the Paddies! You may have victory this time, but it shall not be forever. One day…