Mr. Lò Văn Hồm, from Mật Sàng village, is working in the field of his grandfather in Oi village. After harvesting rice, he uses a buffalo to plough the land before harrowing it with an agricultural machine. When I lead the buffalo, he understands what I mean. When ploughing, I speak to him and he listens. He goes straight when I tell him to do so and turns back if I ask him to turn. When I speak Thai, he understands, but he stands still if I speak Vietnamese. Buffaloes are raised just to plough and transport. When I collect timber, I use buffaloes to pull the wood if trucks can't access it.

We also need cattle for meat on weddings, funerals, holidays and New Year's days. It is impossible to have a wedding or funeral without buffalo meat or beef. A buffalo must also be slaughtered to feed people at an engagement party. At a wedding, it is two buffaloes: one from the groom’s family and one from the bride’s family. Any households who don’t have cattle should slaughter a pig and buy some beef or buffalo meat from the market.

A buffalo is stronger than an ox, but they can't stand the heat. They need to take a bath at noon. It is said, "Lose the house, follow the dog; lose the lane, follow the buffalo." A buffalo knows the way back to his shed to sleep.

Narrator and photographer: Lường Thị Thu (Thai ethnicity, 37 years old)


Person in the photo: Lò Văn Hồm, from Mật Sàng village, is working in the field of Oi village.