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