I guess I should start by giving a quick project update. Things have been going really well and we have successfully handed out 20 goats in the last week to hard working, deserving women. I can’t tell you what an inspiration these women have been to us. Most of them are caring for grandchildren, orphans and some of their own children, which can total into the double digits. They work relentlessly to provide them with food, shelter and school fees. Most of them, not all of them, know that the only way out of poverty is though education. Unfortunately, school fees, uniforms, books, pencils and pens add up and keeping children in school becomes difficult. I would say to any of you at home that are thinking about sponsoring a family from a developing country that providing school fees is the MOST important factor to ensuring them a better life.
Anyways, back to the goats….our interns: Eric Lawrence and Annelie Crook fundraised all year to provide money to buy goats for these women. It was a great feeling to give them a potential source of income and all of the women were incredibly grateful. Eric and Annelie- I ‘m sorry that you couldn’t be there to see the women but we made sure that we told them that you were the ones that donated the money for the goats and they gave you a standing round of applause:)
We have also picked 12 paravets to train- paravets will provide basic animal care to the women in their parish. We will spend the next week training them about proper husbandry, disease prevention, disease treatment, and basic skills like castration and hoof trimming. The women that we picked are examples to the rest of the beneficiaries because they all showed commitment towards the project and an enthusiasm to become more involved. The idea is to give these women an education in goat husbandry and provide them with medical supplies and medicines to start. They are to charge for their service- so it becomes a source of income for them and also allows them to replace the medicines once they are finished. Independence and sustainability are the major goals- as Laura puts it “working yourself out of a job.” I am sure most of you know that reliance and dependence on foreign aid is a huge problem in development work so that is something that we are trying to avoid by giving them the tools to start and hoping that they will work as a group to take it further. This has worked amazingly in some of the old parishes but has been disastrous in others. Some of the paravets are very successful and work well within the community, whereas others never get paid for their time and don’t refill the medicines. Some of the beneficiaries don’t understand that having goats are an investment and that some input is required to maintain health. Our only suggestion to prevent this from happening in other parishes is to provide the paravets with a fee guide that will allow them to make a small amount of income while ensuring that they are charging enough to be able to replace the medicines.
I am looking forward to spending a week training these women but I am not thrilled that we only have 2.5 weeks left! Can’t think about it:(