Friday, February 29, 2008

Let the trainings begin!

Yesterday was the first of 9 trainings for goat recipients. Lamech, with Geoffrey's help, plans to teach a series of 3 trainings and repeat it in 3 locations for easy access to the beneficiaries. Yesterday's training was on World Harvest Mission's Community Center. After talking about goat breeds, why dairy goat breeding is valuable, and some basics of care, they took a tour of the goat farm on the mission as well as the demonstration fodder garden. People seemed very interested and engaged. Lamech has a great way of communicating and drawing people in.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

50 Goats: Found and Vaccinated

Last week, Lamech traveled for a full day to reach Masaka. It took him a week to travel into various villages where many families breed dairy goats. Most "farms" are small and they only have a few animals. Lamech's goal was to find 50 females (half local blood and half dairy) at a mature age and vaccinate them for Foot and Mouth Disease. He found them, though a few are a bit younger than we wanted due to lack of mature ones. The local farmers are receiving the initial deposit for purchase and will receive the rest when they bring their goats to the truck April 1rst. They are so grateful for the sales, especially at this time of year when school fees are due.
Lamech also let them know that he'll return to look for more goats in May.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Who will get a goat?

We have so, so many goats to give, thanks to the collective generosity of many people! The goats we give are high grade dairy goats, and have a higher mortality rate in Bundibugyo than the local boar (meat) goats. Therefore, we must select responsible, dedicated recipients, with good management skills, who simultaneously have a great need for the milk from the goats. A definite challenge! So as Jennifer, Pat, and I see needy children the health center, we have been making a list and checking it twice. On the list include: (1) HIV-positive children who are dwindling; (2) Infants of HIV-positive women who need to wean their children soon to prevent transmission of the virus from mother to child; (3) motherless infants under 1 year, whose moms have died of causes such as AIDS, malaria, or childbirth; (4) children in bad social situations, who just cannot seem to gain enough weight.

Please pray that the children who need the goats the most would receive them. Pray that the milk would be a blessing to children here in Bundibugyo. In addition, please thank God for His mercy and grace as He provides for these little ones!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mbusa Florence

I wanted to introduce you to a wonderful woman I know, Mbusa Florence. She single-handedly organizes one of our production teams, mobilizing her family members to roast gnuts and soybeans, grind them (using the hand-powered nut grinder), and package them for distributing at our outpatient feeding centers. Last week alone she led the way in producing over 90 cups of groundnut paste and soybean powder, an amazing feat for the tools she is using. This is all voluntary work!! For a comparison, the other two teams produced 38 and 45 cups each. In the picture, you see her de-leafing moringa limbs, to dry the nutritious leaves to be incorporated into food given at outpatient feeding centers. Mbusa’s family was recently given a dairy goat (see picture) from the Matiti Project, because of her cooperation and work with BundiNutrition projects.

Sadly, Mbusa takes flack from a few community members who chastise her saying, “Why are you working for those people for free? They should be paying you something!” She simply replies, “I am working for God,” or even defends me (Stephanie) saying, “Does Stephanie have any children here? This food is for our children”. This adds personal significance to the cliché “It takes a village to raise a child.” Indeed it does. Or at least a few very dedicated villagers!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Outpatient feeding centers, sustained by His hand

When our team evacuated out of Bundibugyo due to the ebola epidemic in early December 2007, I left the outpatient feeding centers in their infancy, with the first cycle of malnourished children returning for week 3 of a 5 week program to improve their nutritional status. The programs provide a small food supplement (peanut butter paste and soybean flour), caregiver education, and weekly growth monitoring. I left Bundibugyo feeling that a lot of blood, sweat and tears had gone into a project that would simply putter out after I left, even despite the fact that the feeding centers were left in very capable Ugandan hands. Yes, I know, very self-centered!

However, when I arrived at one of the small health centers for the first time post-ebola, I was greeted by 3 volunteers and 3 health center staff members we had trained in October, who were educating caregivers, had enrolled malnourished children, and monitoring children's growth. It warmed my heart, strengthened my resolve to continue, to cherish every moment I have to be here in this amazingly gorgeous place. Praise God for sustaining HIS program, and pray for continued success, measured by children’s improved nutritional status and overall health, by caregivers feeling welcomed and loved, and by volunteers and health center staff growing in the knowledge of God’s love for them in Christ, motivating them to serve those around them in love.