KARACHI: Every day from 7 am to 6 pm, Mangi Baloch and her sisters are present on one side of Korangi Creek Road with their camels Razia, Saima, Aqsa, and the latter’s calf Shahzada. They sell camel milk to passersby.
“Camel milk has so many qualities and benefits. It is good for people suffering from so many ailments and conditions such as tuberculosis, cancer, diabetes, stomach ulcers, gastroenteritis, allergies, infections, etc,” Mangi tells customers, adding that camel milk is known to be a cure for some 70 ailments.
A customer has asked for a liter of milk. Manga, the most talkative of the three sisters, informs him that she charges Rs200 per liter. On getting a nod she picks up her silver bucket to milk one of their camels, named Razia.
“This is fresh, raw milk. Camel milk is best if you drink it fresh. It is slightly salty in taste but is tolerated well even by people who may otherwise be lactose intolerant,” she says.
“Both Razia and Saima’s calves died recently, one after the other. But they still have plenty of milk, which we sell. The money we make is used for the care and feeding of our camels too, besides supplementing our own family income,” she shares.
When asked if the camels need too much care, she shrugs and smiles. “Well, not really. They are known as the ‘ships of the desert’ because they can go without water for days. But of course, good food helps. When they are healthy, their milk will also be more nutritious,” she says. “Sometimes our customers bring fresh cattle feed for the camels, which they enjoy very much. But usually, when they get hungry, we let them graze there amid the wild plantation,” she gestures towards some gum trees growing on the other side of the road.
Following her gaze, one can see an adult female camel with her calf already there. The bigger camel is busy munching away on some bushes, and her calf with its mouth attached to one of her teats is trying to have its feed. “That’s Aqsa and her calf Shahzada,” Mangi smiles. “They were hungry so we sent them that side. Razia and Saima will also join them shorty. And after they have had their fill, we would head home after climbing on their backs and Shahzada can follow.”