Two months away is the most I’ve ever done and I wanted a way to document it. Especially now, embarking in this project, I want to monitor everything from the progress and challenges of the project, the beauty and wonders that Africa has to offer, the people I meet, the families and women I interact with, what I see, what I learn, what I am able to change, and who I become from all of this… after all, our experiences shape us.
While pictures are great, I feel like there is always so many stories behind them and even when getting back from somewhere and showing them to family and friends, they often need explaining. So I’m trying out this blog mostly for me but also to share my experience with loved ones and all of you who are curious to know what I’m doing here, know more about the project, to know the situation here and also get a little taste and idea of what Uganda has to offer. So here I go, I’m not a writer so I don’t know how this will turn out, might bore you (hey maybe it can help you fall asleep at night? haha), might inspire you to do something like this, might help pass the time at work, or maybe I could get a few laughs out of you? I dont know but lets do this!
First I thought I could explain the project a little bit more in my own words. The concept goes like this:
For each community, we start with an initial donation of about 2 million shillings (about 800$) that goes into a revolving fund. This will serve as a sort of bank account for the village, from which members can loan money and repay with interest. Then, they are presented with a business opportunity (raising goats). To qualify for goats, villagers need to first invest in and build a goat pen following our recommendations. When they are ready to receive goats, we visit their pens and give them the okay. Before the goat pass-on day, all new beneficiaries receive a husbandry training and basic information on raising their goats and keeping them healthy. There is also a paravet or two trained in each village; this person receives more advanced training allowing them to give basic veterinary care to the goats in their village (vaccinations, hoof trimming, etc.). On goat pass-on day, each beneficiary receives two nanny goats. If all goes well, these should give birth to at least 4 other goats. Members need to sell one offspring for meat and put the money into the revolving fund and pass-on one goat to a new beneficiary ready to receive. Once doing this, their “dept.” is repaid and the rest of the goats are officially theirs. The revolving fund is helpful because it gives people the opportunity to start another small business, invest in their education, borrow if they get sick, and so on. The people in the community who are part of this group have meetings once a month to discuss how the revolving fund is doing, who’s ready to pass on goats, who’s ready to receive goats, they vote on who’s ready to receive money for something, and so on. This creates a sort of micro economy and a form a sustainable development. My job here is to first meet with the communities and discuss what problems they could be facing, whats working, whats not. Then we plan the next couple of weeks which involve Brucella testing (a bacteria that causes abortions in goats) and setting up vaccination clinics for brucella and clostridium (a bacteria that causes sudden death in goats).
So that's that...Good job! You made it through the first blog post!
I’m a little bit behind but I will be posting week 1 and week 2 some time this week and will be on track for the end of week 3!
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