I am living and working in Uganda with Amazima Ministries, but my eyes are set on eternity.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Operation Christmas Goat

I'm sorry to say that I have not been able to blog as much as I had hoped when I arrived back. Turns out that I am crazy busy with work...shoulda known better.Since getting back I have picked up three new projects. I am again working with many of the ones that I spent this past summer with. Sam, the foreman, and all the boys have come back on and are working with me in the construction of a chapel on the same land the playground was built. I also, was charged with helping complete the well we had started this past summer. It is a solar powered well and it was my job to construct a concrete box for the batteries and control consoles. Also, included in this project was setting up the solar panels in a way that would prevent theft or vandalism. I hope to post more on both of these projects in the future, but for now on to the last, which I hope is as interesting and entertaining for you as it was for me.


As you all are aware Christmas season has just passed and here at Amazima that meant a new addition to each household. As an organization we are constantly looking for ways to help the families we serve become more self sustaining. This year we decided as Christmas gifts to give each family, with a child in the program, a female goat. We instructed them not to just take them home and eat them, but rather let them grow and mature until they are able to bear children (or as they are called for goats "kids"). Then they can eat the new ones or sell them or do whatever they like with them.

Anyway, this seems like a simple enough idea...not at all the case though. We needed to come up with 120 goats in about 3 weeks. There are no auction houses or sale barns here so we used the old "ask around" strategy. We would find 3 here and 1 there, but it wasn't going so quick. I decided to implement an incentive. These always worked in the states to speed things up. I told the boys I was working with that I would give them a small bit of money for each goat they found increasing the amount if they found them at a lower price (ranging from $0.20 - $0.70).

One of the up sides to this strategy was getting to see many new areas of Uganda. I trekked deeper into the villages than I had ever before. Many times I was anywhere from 1/2 hour to 1 hour from a paved road. The crazy part about that is that it couldn't have been more than 5 miles actual distance, but due to the winding paths and off-road nature of it all it took forever.

The boys efforts helped a bunch and between the 3 of them they came up with close to 40 goats.
We also ran into the problem that 120 goats or anywhere near that amount is a ton of stinking goats. The feeding ground was limited on our property and we had to build a pen for them at night. Another problem we faced was a few of the goats developed a cold and spread it to all of them. We had close to a hundred sniffling and sneezing goats. This doesn't seem so bad until I researched and realized a common killer of goats is pneumonia. We only lost one, but I was a bit worried for a spell.

Despite the stress and setbacks I still am very fond of goats and hope to someday raise at least of few of my own. Even though I'm in an apartment currently, I am tempted to buy a few and keep them out on the Amazima property. Maybe I could pay somebody a bit to tend to them.

All in all Operation Christmas Goat (this is the official name I gave this project) was a success.

A few interesting goat facts

1) Goats are great swimmers and were often kept by sailors for their milk and lack of fear of water

2) Goats have rectangular eyes which help them see at night

3) A group of goats is called a trip

I've got many emails requesting a goat Haiku so for all you fans of Japanese poetry about goats here you go.

I get a bad rap

Many say I eat tin cans

They say that I'm dense


  1. We had goats when I was younger. They are so cute! Love the pictures! What a wonderful gift for these families. So happy to hear that Operation Christmas Goat was a success! Praise God!

    The Patzers

  2. The kids love the picture of you with the goats! But, they are certain that you look different. They think it's the spiked-up hair. :-) I debated whether to tell you this or not, but I think you can handle it. Not a single one of your small, adoring, M. family fans liked your haiku!

  3. The boys both said they would like a goat for Christmas next year. :) We are encouraged by the works you are doing and are praying for you!

  4. Three post in and you're already writing poetry! Living in the center of God's will is certainly an entertaining adventure.
    We love you Brad and we miss you too.

  5. I am so glad you received my many e-mail about you writing a goat Haiku. Lol. We love you, Brad! See you soon.

  6. I thought the collective noun for goats was "bucket".

  7. please tell me that you took a couple of cans of mousse with you to uganda - LOL! looking good in the third world!