Originally posted on Beezy ‘s Facebook page, and shared with her permission.
December 2 was an exciting day at Jhamtse Gatsal! Our first cow arrived.
The children of First Parish Church, Berlin, Massachusetts raised money to provide a Jersey cow to provide milk for the children. A Jersey cow was located in nearby Bhutan, pregnant with her third calf. She’s a fine milker, but the farmer who owned her had more cows than he could care for. Director Lobsang arranged for the purchase, and the farmer consulted the local astrologist for the most auspicious day and hour on which to sell a cow—Saturday, November 30 at 10:00 am.
On Friday, Lobsang prepared khatas (ceremonial white silk scarves) for the owner, and a packet of various kinds of herbal pills blessed by the Dalai Lama to give the cow spiritual aid on her journey. Two staff members then set out for her home in Bhutan. The drive over a rough dirt road to the border at the raging Tawang Chu river takes about 1 ½ hours. From there, they had a 4-5 hour walk, and an hour’s drive to reach the cow. They spent the night with the Bhutanese farmer, and at the appointed hour on Saturday, the purchase was made. The rest of Saturday was spent getting acquainted with the cow and learning about her history and care.
Early Sunday morning she was loaded onto a small truck for the first part of her journey. Then she began to walk, led by Ngawang and Rinzin. Rinzin said that she would walk for about 2 minutes, and then stop and graze for 20. It was apparent that she would not reach Jhamtse Gatsal on Sunday, so Ngawang and Rinzin arranged to spend the night with a local farmer. On Monday they began slowly walking again. By about 3:00 pm they had reached the border, where a truck was waiting on the Indian side. The cow was loaded onto this truck, and then driven carefully back up the mountains to Jhamtse Gatsal.
She arrived about 4:30, just as it was beginning to get dark. All the children were lined up to greet her when she was unloaded and walked up the driveway. Some of the little ones held a sign that said “Welcome Meep to Jhamtse Gatsal.” The name, Meep, was chosen by the children of First Parish Church, who worked hard to raise money to purchase her. Three khatas were tied around Meep’s neck by three young women on the staff whose parents are still living, according to local custom. This is to ensure that the cow will remain fertile and give lots of milk.
She’s a beautiful creature, a lovely brown with black nose, and big, soft eyes. She was very calm after her strenuous journey and being greeted by 80+ rowdy kids. She ate some green vegetables, drank a lot of water, and was led to the temporary shed that had been constructed in an unused building made of bamboo and mud. She is going to be a wonderful addition to the Jhamtse Gatsal community. The children will be eagerly awaiting the birth of her calf in May.