In the work that we are doing here, there aren’t many times when we can see any tangible difference. At the end of most days, I wonder if I have done an ounce of good at all. I wonder if maybe all I did was create dependency or put a patch on a situation that just plain needs to be fixed. I don’t have the answers to those ponderings, but I do have some encouragement from our ladies that recently graduated from the goat beneficiary program. There were 24 women in this past go-round and they were split into two groups of 12. Each group of 12 was evaluated based on what they did with the two female goats and one male goat that they each received 2 years prior. To be honest, many of the women didn’t have much to show for what they had been given. Many said that their goats died or were sold and they currently only had one or two left. But many were able to take what was given to them and make more from it. I am reminded of the parable of the talents and how those who had received talents were judged based on what they had done with what they had been given. It is encouraging to see women who have been given just a little and have invested wisely to get a larger return.
The lady who was able to get the most return on the three goats that were initially given to her, ended the two years with 8 goats, ¼ hectare (½ acre) of land that she bought by selling a few goats, and 800 lbs of wheat grown on that piece of land. Now she can store up the wheat and sell it when the price gets high, she can sell goats if she needs immediate cash or she can use them to help provide milk or meat for her family, and she has a piece of land that she owns and can continue to farm and provide for her family in the future.
Another lady ended the two years with 7 goats and 1 bull that she bought by selling some of her other goats. The bull will most likely be used to plow land and/or to breed with her female cattle. Again, the 7 goats left can be used for cash, milk, meat or to continue increasing her goat herd.
And finally, a third lady, ended the year with 2 goats, one heifer, and one donkey. The heifer can obviously be bred to increase her cattle herd or used to provide meat or milk or simply sold for cash. The donkey is a very valuable asset around these parts as they use them to haul water and/or grain all over the countryside and serve as tremendous work horses for the countryside people.
We were all encouraged that these ladies were able to take what was provided for them and use it to benefit their families for the long term.
And just in case you were wondering (which I’m sure you weren’t), we did a rain dance and some chanting on Wednesday and water miraculously showed up at our house on Thursday – not in the form of rain, but water nonetheless. There was great rejoicing and lots of showering! We are now almost out again, but that is okay because we are going out of town for the next week so this place can continue on without us and without water.