No matter its size, a water buffalo represents a big gift. For Outreach community partners worldwide, a water buffalo represents a significant, ongoing boost to monthly income for owners; providing nutrient-rich fertilizer, hearty milk, plus unrivaled hauling, tilling, and plowing power. These attributes have secondary benefits, as well– increasing crop yield, improving health, and dramatically reducing the time and effort involved in the day-to-day labor demanded from a life lived off the land.

“My buffalo saved my life,” Salai tells us. “Without being able to sell the calf, I would not have been able to pay for treatment, and I would’ve died.”

Income and Outcomes

Water buffaloes represent an opportunity, but also serve as a means of preparation, giving owners the ability to maximize their output, increase their income level, and construct a financial foundation on which they can stand, bringing them ever closer to their goals. Another thing characterized as the intersection of opportunity and preparation: Luck.

For Salai, an Outreach community partner in rural India, taking ownership of a water buffalo provided by a community-led project in 2012 was a symbol of the good luck that follows hard work and smart planning. Alongside her new asset, she was able to grow more vegetables to sell at market (with plenty to keep and enjoy with her family), and establish a reliable, sustainable means of support that made life easier through the certainty that comes with foresight and preparation.

Of course, there are two kinds of luck, and both have little use for advance notice. When Salai fell gravely ill a few years after acquiring her buffalo, the opportunities she’d worked tirelessly to ensure were suddenly reduced to a choice between costly medical treatment or outright surrender.

A Little Help

Buffalo and babyThere’s a tertiary benefit to water buffaloes, given the right circumstance: They reproduce. For some owners, a calf represents an exponential increase in resources upon reaching maturity. For others like Salai, a mature calf represents the more immediate miracle of a financial windfall when sold at market.

Always prepared, Salai seized the opportunity, selling her buffalo’s newest calf for $200 USD, then using the proceeds to cover her medical expenses. “My buffalo saved my life,” she tells us. “Without being able to sell the calf, I would not have been able to pay for treatment, and I would’ve died.”

As luck would have it, Salai’s medical treatment had the desired outcome, and she quickly made a full recovery, with enough money left over that she still had a financial cushion, even after being forced to take time away from her work. Depending on the context, even the smallest water buffalo can represent the biggest gift.

These days, Salai is back to her healthy, successful, sunny self, and has resumed her life and work with a decidedly “glass calf-full” optimism. She and her buffalo continue to work hard each day, moving forward with confident strides, making their own luck.

Hey, coincidentally, you can select a water buffalo from our Sustainable Gifts Catalog.

Animals of all sizes make a huge difference in the life of Outreach’s community partners.