My friend the herdsman 

By Fatimah Bakare-Dickson

Over the years I have come to make friends with this herder. He is such a great gentleman, although he is old enough to be my father but I must admit he enjoys my company.

Few days ago he came to knock on my gate as he was passing with his herd. He told me he has just left home for grazing and he is yet to cover his required distance.

We talked briefly and we agreed to discuss further the following week. He believes in whatever I say to him but little did he know I have always tapped into his wealth of wisdom.

He is so sure I have an answer to all his questions especially on internet matters.

On the set date, I was just driving in from work and I saw him with his herds. I had to pack so that we can discuss as planned.

He started by asking me what are my plans for Al Amin peradventure he does not secure employment after school. (Al-Amin is my first son)

I was confused at first but I told him I believe he will secure a good job. He smiled and went further to ask the same question like I did not understand what he meant.

He added again, I mean what investment do you have for him and his brother.

I was so dazed, but quickly I told him education is an investment.

He smiled at me and further complained about education without investments.

I know he has about three officers among his children, two teachers and some are not even schooled at all.

So what investments was he talking about.
He said to me whenever he welcomes a baby girl, he marks 3 cows aside for her, two females and a male.

This would be her inheritance years to come. This is one of the reasons his 8 year old daughter grazes also.

For his sons they have an allocation of 5 cows, three females and two males.

However I was so dazed and amazed at his wealth of wisdom.

He went further, I don't pay school fees you know, I looked at him with amusement, so how does he do it?

I have 13 children, they start school by age 5. At five years old, your cow must have multiplied to at least 15 or more, I sale the mother give the money to my first wife who pays the fees all through primary school and sometimes college.

I took a deep breath and wondered what manner of wisdom this my unschooled friend had.

He added, my sons that refuse to go to school graze for their siblings at a percentage. But guess what he asked me with a smile, I smiled as he looked round to tell me a secret. My son the soldier borrowed 2million from his brother the herder to complete his house. Can you believe it?

How is he going to pay back I asked? He said it is a loan payable in 2 years. But I know half of his cows will cover for the money.

I have kept you out for sometime, he said with a smile, you can go in and rest, but while you do that, please think of what you can invest for your children. It’s not about doing everything for the kid, it’s more about giving them a basic.