The Okinawa Resurrection Pig
I was wwoofing (free accommodation, no salary with 6 days’ work) in Kiyuna dairy farm in Ogimi, Okinawa, Japan. The Kiyunas had pigs, sheep and chickens beside dairy cows.
Kiyuna Dad decided to move the pigs to another city on a very hot day. It was a super difficult task to move all those free-running pigs.
The pigsty was an open air low land with size like a football field. We matched into the pigsty and the pigs were frightened to see strangers entered into their territories. The pigs usually would rush to us for food but they all hide up far that day. So we used wirecloth to enclose the feeding box and chased the pigs into the wirecloth enclosure.
We all stood outside the wirecloth to stand by and we thought it was an easy job and we talked and laugh and even took photos. Kiyuna Dad and a local helper ‘Korehito’ did the most difficult job like chasing and catching pigs. They put a thin wire in the pig’s mouth when the pig was screaming and pull the pig to the truck. The scared pigs ran blindly and it was very difficult to catch them.
A sow was caught finally. It was bleeding because the wire was in its mouth and it was screaming as loud as it can. Its 4 legs stoned on the muddy ground and it was struggling all the way to the truck and the flying dust was all over us. It was pulled to the truck finally with 4 struggled pit marks left behind.
The pigs talked to each other with ‘wa lu lu’ or a content sound ‘gu lu lu’ when they were eating. But the sow kept on screaming with a sharp, piercing despair.
I never thought human and animals could communicate. My housing estate in Hong Kong forbids us to have dogs and I have never seen a live pig in Hong Kong. But suddenly I understood the sow. It was scared, refusing and frightened. It was not spoken a word but we all understood.
But we were all in silent.
Woofers in Kiyuna dairy farm came from all over the world.
Mikawa Ichi from Japan didn’t talk much. He stood straight behind the wirecloth to guide the gate, he talked even less today.
Sea from Thailand was a Buddhist with a kind heart. She frowned and recited the Sutra but still stood by the wirecloth to guide the gate.
Yan from Hong Kong was a bit faint by the heat and stood by the wirecloth tiredly.
Joseph from Singapore was surprisingly active. He tried to help and caught the pig tail with bare hands and even tried to put the thin wire into the pig’s mouth and asked us to take photos for him.
Kiyuna Dad just flow small pigs onto the truck. One little pig did not struggle at all when it was caught and we found it was lying on the truck and it was very still. It had no reaction even if we touched it.
Kiyuna Dad said, ‘just leave it. It was scared and had a heart attack. There are pigs which frightened and having a heart attack EVERYTIME.’ And he ran off to rush the other pigs onto the truck.
Joseph walked to the little pig and saw its legs were trembling and its body was shaking with eyes half-closed and some white foam was seeping from its mouth. Joseph did not say a word and hold the little pig away and put it under a small tree with cool shadow.
Sea fetched some beautiful white soy beans for the little pigs and put them on the ground near to the little pig’s mouth. The little pig would rush to the soy beans in normal days but its whole body was just shaking, it was very still even its beloved soy beans was right in front of its mouth.
Joseph liked to be clean but he sat on the mud ground and stroke the little pig back and talked to it, ‘ You don’t have to be frightened. See? There are some delicious soy beans, get up and eat them!’
Sea sat aside silently and recited the Sutra.
Mikawa Ichi and Yan went back to the main house silently.
Kiyuna Dad walked pass Joseph and Sea and smiled, ‘Stroking works on animals, keep going!’ And he left quickly and looked after the other pigs.
Joseph and Sea sat on the muddy ground to accompany little pig until sunset. They talked to the little pig or stroke it silently. They looked at the little pig for a final time and saw the soy beans still did not be eaten when they left the pigsty for dinner in the main house.
We were all thinking about the little pig but death was normal in a dairy farm. Wwoofers from cities like us was touched because it was out first time to see a death scene. Farmers like Kiyuna Dad and Korehito had a soft heart but they just get used to it. Raise the living and bury the death. It’s normal in a farm.
We all went back to the pigsty and continuous to catch the remaining pigs the other day. We found the soy beans were missing and the little pig disappeared under the tree.
Korehito greeted us and smiled, ‘I saw the little pig was playing with the other pigs this morning. I remembered its pattern and I am sure that’s the one which had a heart attack yesterday.’
We looked at the pigsty and saw a few little pigs were chasing each other happily and there were flying dusts all around. We all smiled.
None of us thought the little pig would be ‘rebirth’. Kiyuna Dad said it was because of the stroking made the little pig felt warm and being care. He laughs, ‘I thought I have to call my butcher friend to come yesterday!’ Farmers were always practical. But are we going to EAT IT if the little pig couldn’t make it last night?
Joseph was so happy to see the little pig back to life again. He tried to get close to the little pig but the little pig ran off at once when it saw human approached.
Joseph said, ‘It doesn’t let me stroke it anymore,’
He smiled and continuous catching the pigs with us again.
The sow was pulled to the truck finally with 4 struggled pit marks left behind.
They are comforting the heart-attack little pig.
The pig was frightened because strangers entered into their territories.
The whole body of the little pig was just shaking, it was very still even its beloved soy beans was right in front of its mouth.