tagNovels and NovellasEleven Orphan Daughters Ch. 02

Eleven Orphan Daughters Ch. 02

bymangrove jack©

Visits from the Vietnamese Prime Minister the Australian Trade Commissioner and the delegation from John's home state caused local provincial officials to take much more interest in the feedlot.

The provincial Party hosted a stream of senior Party officials from all over Vietnam. Many of them had never visited the province before. Ruby told the family that the feedlot had increased the standing of the Province and its officials.

Never the less they procrastinated when John wanted to increase its size. He applied to take over three neighboring properties offering the families jobs with the feedlot and accommodation in the barracks.

The families were enthusiastic arguing that they would be better off with a regular income from feedlot jobs than struggling to eek out a living on their farms.

"It should have taken a bloody week not a bloody month," John fumed when Ruby finally told him that Rose had been given approval to buy the farms. "You're the bloody deputy party secretary tell them if we stay small we will fail. We must grow. Haven't they heard of economies of scale?"

He cooled down and apologized to Ruby. "It's not your fault it's probably mine. I haven't really kept them informed of my plans." He put his arm around her and pulled her close. "Can you arrange a formal meeting with Provincial and Local officers so I can tell them what I would like to do next?"

As the weeks rolled by the number of calves increased. "What are we going to do with all calves?" Rose asked one evening while John was enjoying one of Lelani's erotic massages. John groaned as Lelani's hands worked under the towels. "We will keep the females. They will add to our milking herd. The males will be killed for meat. They can be killed when they are still calves for veal or we can let them grow and then sell them for beef."

He sat up when Rose said. "There are no beef slaughter houses that meet international standards in the north of Vietnam." His sudden movement made Lelani jump as the towel slipped threatening to expose what she had been doing.

"That could be an opening for us to start another sideline to our existing business," he said as he dragged the towel back over what was an obvious erection. "There is a company in the north of my state that builds small mobile slaughterhouses. We can buy a single module and start a new beef slaughter industry."

He turned to Pansy, "I'll give John Macdonald a ring and ask him to get them to send someone over to talk to us. In the meantime you check with Hanoi's Five Star hotels and its restaurants to see if they would be interested in fresh locally killed beef."

John employed another vet from the Ruminant Research Center in South Vietnam to help monitor cattle performance. "Two vets will make it easier for you to set up a daily training session," he told Rose as they lunched together.

Rose developed a small kitchen in the amenities block. "We have to make sure people who work for us eat well," she told John when she introduced him to the woman doing the cooking. "I have told them that we will supply one meal each day." She looked at John. "You want to make sure the cows and calves are well fed." She pointed to the workers, "they will work better if they are well fed themselves."

John agreed. "Its time we rewarded them for their hard work and loyalty. Review their wages and write a meal a day into the agreement. Make training a part of the package. Remind them if they do not want to do the training that we plan to get bigger. When we do, they will have an opportunity to move into better jobs with better pay. The new staff can takeover the more menial tasks."

With the experience of building the first large feedlot shed, John's gang of workers knew what to do when he explained that they were to build another two sheds exactly the same size on the new land.

Rose insisted that all supplies and construction should be bought locally if possible. She asked John for permission to loan two of her friends enough money to build a storage shed in the village. "More goods should be stored locally and not bought from Hanoi," She said when he asked why.

That evening he told the family that the feedlot was still loosing money. "We are selling a lot more milk each day. We are averaging 19 litres of milk per cow. With 90 cows milking, that is more than 1600 litres a day. Some cows are producing more than 25 litres others a lot less."

"We need to spend more time on the quality and quantity of each individual cow's rations. Those of you who have complained that keeping daily records is a waste of time will learn that those records can help us provide each cow with a comfortable well-fed existence. The cow in turn will reward us with more milk and stronger calves."

The new building was nearing completion when he met with the whole family again. "I have suggested to the Mr. Treet that he should lead a delegation to Australia to see how feedlots and dairies work. He has agreed and the central government has approved of his travel."

"He asked me to travel with him. I suggested Rose and Kim should accompany him and his officials. The government of my state will organize his program. John Macdonald will arrange for the delegation to inspect our next shipment of cattle. That shipment will fill one of the new sheds. We will finish building the other one but we won't purchase more cattle until we are ready."

"I have bought another bull. Most of the new cows will not be in calf. I do not think pregnant cows travel as well as dry cows." He turned to Kim and Rose. "I have asked him to organize a session with an expert in artificial insemination. He will brief you on how it is done and what we will have to do back here before he comes over and inseminates our cows."

Lelani laughed, "If they are going to be made pregnant artificially, why do we need the bull?" John smiled back, "there will always be a place for us males. We need the bull because we cannot be sure everyone will be successful. Our two bulls will pick up any that miss." He looked at Lelani as she whispered, "lucky cows." He winked, "Lucky bull."

Rose was worried. She had never traveled overseas before. "My Trip to Ho Chi Minh City was the only time I have been away from my family," she told him as they sat watching the moonrise over the reservoir.

"I don't want to leave my family. She looked at him tenderly, "Let me stay home. I will go to Australia with you when you go there again. I feel safe with you."

John could see she was distressed. She had been unhappy since he told the family of the visit to Australia. He took her hand and gave it a squeeze. "Don't worry, I will talk to Mr. Treet and suggest that Pansy replace you on the delegation."

Rose heaved a sigh, "thank you," she cried. "I don't want to leave without you." She blushed. "Oh my," she whispered as she stood up and ran off to her room. John jumped up to follow her then sat down his mind in turmoil.

"What are you doing sitting on your own with such a big smile on your face?" Pansy said as she strolled out to join him. When he didn't reply she took his hand and led him up to the rooftop. "Come on I'll give you a massage tonight," she whispered. "I'm better than Melissa."

Her remarks about Melissa wiped the smile off John's face. Melissa's massages had provided welcome relief when one or two beautiful members of the family had teased and flirted with him. She had been his relief valve when he struggled to keep his hands off Rose's daughters. John killed a steer and invited all those who had worked on the project including government and party officials to a farewell party for Mr. Treet, Kim and Pansy.

"We have two reasons to throw a party and bar-b-que some beef," he told the gathering. "Pansy has reported that the major hotels and restaurants will be keen to buy beef slaughtered locally. Therefore, our first reason is to introduce our local beef."

"The second reason is to farewell the first Provincial delegation to my home state in Australia. If this delegation is a success they will sign an MOU guaranteeing closer ties between our province and my state."

Mr.Treet asked to speak. He thanked John and Rose for what they had done for the province. He pointed out that John's investment and Rose's steadfast support had brought benefits by way of business and jobs and created national interest in the province.

He ended by reminding John that nowadays John spoke of "our province" like a local. "Maybe you should take a partner and settle permanently in our province." He said as he looked at Rose.

John took the opportunity created by Kim and Pansy's visit to Australia to give other members of the family more responsibility. "We must finish the feedlot and investigate better crops for our other properties while they are away." He told them over dinner.

Rose brought the four young orphans she had rescued from the orphanage to talk to John. "Because Daisy speaks very good English we have been using her as a teacher. She wants to study to become a teacher. I think we should agree."

"Her three sisters should go to college and maybe university in Hanoi. I don't want them to be held back because of the poor standard of English in our local schools." John agreed. "You should talk to all of our family. Ask them whether they would like to work in our business or whether they had other ideas about their future. In the meantime I will ask our people in Australia to see if they can find us a teacher who would like to work in our village school."

The next day Rose asked him to talk to Monica. "Monica has been a part of my family since she was seven. She is twenty-nine and has always looked after our poultry. She wants to breed chickens and sell them."

They sat and talked. John finally convinced her that she needed new sheds and a modern approach to chicken farming. "I'll download a design from the net and my construction team can build it for you," He promised.

He turned to Rose, "that was quick; there will probably be others with business ideas. We need diversification. Let's look at your fruit trees next. They never produce fruit because fruit fly infects them before the fruit ripens. There is a professor back home that is working in South Vietnam on a fruit fly project. You should offer our property as a place to test his baits. "

While all this was going on John Macdonald rang with the name of a retired schoolteacher who would teach in Vietnam if John would sponsor her. "Her name is Sarah Button. She is a fifty five year old widow looking for a challenge. I told her about you." He laughed, "I told her you were a challenge."

The local schoolteachers were overjoyed at the prospect of a foreign-trained teacher working in their local school and offered to accommodate her in one of their homes. They agreed to run an evening class for adults from the village when John said they could use the farms amenities block and air conditioned computer room at night.

"We will have to wait and see if the Australian teacher improves our English training," John told Rose as they drove down to Hanoi to meet the returning delegation. Rose sat close on the bench seat. "You have done a lot while they were away," she whispered.

"Don't you think it's time we consolidated what we have done. I know it has been hard work for you but you have to think of what it has meant for our workers and my daughters. The extra hundred head of cattle will bring new challenges when they arrive. Artificial insemination will be an added skill for our vets to learn."

John was about to put his arm around Rose as they sat in the VIP lounge waiting for the plane to arrive. She looked so beautiful that his heart had skipped a beat when she joined him. He wondered how she would react to a public show of affection and decided against it. His massage exploits weighed heavy on his mind as he kept his hands to himself.

Pansy had implied that Rose had decided to make space for him in the new house after learning he was have nightly massages at the hotel. He had wondered if she had learnt that Melissa slept in his room every night. It seemed impossible that she would not know.

She came up to his roof top area every night while Lelani's massages grew more adventurous. She must know what Lelani has been doing he thought as he recalled how Lelani frequently rubbed and nudged him under the towel while everyone sat around talking.

The Public address announced the arrival of the Vietnam Airlines flight. She stood and held out her hand waiting for him to join her. My god she is stunning he thought as he watched a group of men turn and stare as they passed.

With the arrival of the next hundred head of dairy cattle and another bull, Rose ordered that new construction should cease while the cattle settled down. "Things are moving to fast, too much worry," she said as she poured him a cold beer. "You need a rest."

He told her that night that he would take her advice. "I won't start anything new but you can't expect things to stand still. We will have to finish some of the things we have started."

As if to prove his point, the Australian artificial insemination expert arrived and commenced on the job training for the feedlot's two vets.

Gradually the feedlot settled into a good working routine. John left the day-to-day management to Rose and started to talk to animal husbandry and treasury officials about his plan for a large provincial government owned feedlot. It proved much more difficult than he had envisaged.

Officials who had approved the extension of Rose's feedlot agreeing it had to grow bigger to work properly were disinterested when he spoke of the provincial model. Every time they met, it received less support.

"We want to develop the dairy industry to eliminate poverty amongst our farmers," one official told him. "Your proposal is not acceptable because it will not help eliminate poverty in our farming community."

John thought he had found the way to break the deadlock when Mai came home from school with a Vietnamese newspaper story. They sat together as she translated and read the story so he could understand. The headline read another Australian cow dies. It told the story of the difficulties farmers in South Vietnam were facing after paying expensive prices for imported Australian cattle.

Thirty head of cattle imported and resold to individual farmers by a Vietnamese dealer had died over a short period. It went on to spell out that those farmers now faced major problems paying off the money they had borrowed to purchase the dead cows.

John recognized the dealer's name. He had bought cattle from his former mates. "That's sad," he told her, "but it could help us. It should make them think twice before making the same mistake here."

He raised the story at their weekly meeting and was stunned when they read it and dismissed it as the dealers fault. He bought poor cows," they argued, "It was not our farmers fault." He bit his tongue as they launched in to an attack on Australian cattle. John controlled his anger until the meeting finished. When they offered him a lift back to the farm he refused.

He left the meeting angry and frustrated. He thought back over the discussion. His mood growing darker every minute he walked down to the hotel to pick up the local bus.

Melissa spied him waiting and joined him. "You want massage?" she asked. "Why not," he replied as she led him next door. Her happy personality and warm hands soon had him relaxed and laughing at her fractured English. When she finished, he looked at the clock and realized he had missed his bus.

He asked to use their phone and rang the farm office. No one answered. He tried two or three more times. "This bloody country will be the death of me. Nothing fucking works they can shove it, I give up," He kissed Melissa on the cheek, "book us a room love I'll catch a bus tomorrow."

He slumped down on the settee with Melissa's two workmates and put an arm around each of them. "Have a drink with me," he cried as Melissa brought him a beer. Sometime during the night, he slipped the security guard one hundred thousand dong and took the three of them up to his room.

He awoke the next morning as the three girls rolled out of his bed. "Don't go," he moaned his head thumping. "I'm giving up. I am not going back to the farm. I'm going to have a holiday, stay with me." They showered together before heading down the street to get something to eat.

Melissa and her two workmates waved and talked to people in the market introducing John as the Australian with the feedlot. As the tea cleared his brain, John realized the enormity of what he had done.

Well I have stuffed things now, he thought. Everyone knows these girls are prostitutes who work in a massage joint. They don't have to be detectives to know I have spent the night with them. It will not take long for it to get back to embarrass Rose and the family.

He shook is head from side to side, "I may as well enjoy myself," he said as he gave Melissa three hundred dollars. "Look after your mates," he whispered. "I will," she cried. "Now let's go back to your room,"

John was sleeping his old body tired from hours in the arms of Melissa and her colleagues. He woke as the door opened. "Found you at last," Pansy said as she pushed inside." He pulled a sheet over his body as he realized they were all naked.

Pansy took no notice of the three naked girls; she just pulled John up off the bed. Then as they sat naked watching, she helped him dress and without a word ushered him down the stairs. Outside Lelani sat in the driving seat waiting. She gave him a smile and winked. "Get in" she said.

No one said a word on the drive home. At the farm, he avoided the office and went straight to work at the new slaughterhouse. The company that sold the plant had sent two Australians over to set it up and train the local operators.

John could not help but smile when he received a typical Aussie welcome. "Where have you been, your late, did you bring a note," they called as they laughed and joked at his expense. They kept it up all afternoon. At every opportunity they rubbed it in. "Your in the shit. Everyone was asking where you were."

It was different with the family. They went about their work as though nothing had happened. He had expected questions about Melissa and her mates and even some anger at his failure to come home. But no one seemed to care.

Lelani's massage gave the first indication that things may have changed. She very deliberately licked her lips as her hands dwelt between his legs. Pansy too showed renewed interest. Her body language indicating that she wanted to be more than friends.

As the days flew by John realized that his escapade with Melissa and company had changed the way some members of the family looked at him. He was no longer a big lovable uncle. The days of jumping on his lap for a friendly cuddle were over. Now any cuddle or kiss had a sexual side. He was seen as an available man not just a friend.

"You and Rose are becoming the two most popular persons in our province," Ruby told him when they met on the first night of the free English education program. "Look around," she said. "Most of these people especially the older ones have never had an opportunity to learn English. Because of your sponsorship we now have our own Foreign English teacher and free night classes for the people of our little village." "Everyone wants to work at the feedlot. You pay better wages than most other businesses. You promise promotion and more money in the future. Many of us would never have dreamed of these things until you came along."

"Come and have a cup of tea," he said as he urged her away from the gathering. "I want to tell you something and ask your advice."

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