It is with deep sadness that I read a report about the food situation in Zimbabwe. Here it is: http://www.trust.org/item/20130906111437-9zysp/?source=shem I have a hard time understanding how some of us have so much and others have so little. It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that children will be hungry while we throw food away and complain because we want more choices.
But, there is a silver lining around my thoughts - because of you and of AFCA, there are 628 orphaned families who are eating this season and they are eating balanced meals, at that. That means, there are over 3100 children and guardians that get up in the morning to milk their goats, gather eggs from under their chickens and who gather vegetables from their gardens. Yes, times will be tough for them with little water, but, with planning and proper mulching and water conservation, I trust they will all get through this next drought healthfully and full.
What about the other children, though? There are 1,800,000 orphans in Zimbabwe and all of them should eat. None of them should perish due to lack of food. Now is the time to do more, to dig deeper and to help out the others. AFCA is expanding our programs to include two more villages in Zimbabwe, but we need your help (and that of your friends) to make it possible. We'd like to purchase and deliver more goats, chickens, guinea fowl, seeds, and hope. Will you help us? Let's rally together during this last part of the year and do more for more children. This will be the cry of my heart as we march into the holiday season - let's give kids on the other side of the world the chance to celebrate life, too.
We are taking our first volunteer team to Zimbabwe in June 2014. We'll be finishing the construction of a school and will be building arborloos. Come join us, visiting this magnificent country and see what you've helped us accomplish. If you are interested in being part of a Volunteer with a Purpose team, email me at tweaver@AFCAids.org and check out our website (VWP tab) to find out more. We have space for 16 people - why not be one of them? Families welcome.
She is 15 years old and has a dream. She dreams of continuing her education so that she can, one day, provide for her 3 younger siblings and her grandma. She dreams of one day moving to the big city of Bulawayo so she can attend the university there and become a doctor. She dreams of getting married one day and of becoming a mom.
Not so long ago, Fatima dreamed of eating enough food and not going to bed hungry.
While not all her dreams have come true yet, by all signs we see, Fatima will be able to accomplish some of the goals she's laid out before her in the very near future. As the proud owner of a herd of goats which she's taken care of thoughout the last year, she is well on her way of accomplishing her dream of eating well - she couldn't believe how good milk is when she first tried it! With the veggie garden her family is growing, thanks to the seeds we sent them. Fatima and her siblings and grandma have added kale, beans, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, and onions to their diet, as well. This makes her happy, as she no longer goes to bed hungry and she doesn't hear her siblings complaining of stomachs that are painful in their emptyness.
She is learning how to save seeds for next year's garden and knows that as long as she is careful, they won't lack for vegetables again. With training in conservation farming behind her, she is a wiz at mulching and fertilizing her small garden, showing me how it is done. I am so proud of her. I am so proud of these kids who, against all odds, are moving ahead, providing for themselves and getting out of the cycle of poverty.
While visiting her last week, I asked to see her goats and she showed them to me with a small smile of satisfaction on her lips. I did the happy dance which is translatable in any language without the need for words. We danced together and together, we continue to dream big for Fatima and her loved ones.
Mduduzi Ngwenya is 15 years old. When he was six months old his father died. Soon thereafter, his mother died, leaving him in the care of Shadreck Ngwenya, his grandfather, who is now 84. They live in a the small village of Sizeze, which is not too far from Bulawayo, a major city in Zimbabwe. Being relatively close to a big city has been of no advantage to this small family, as it might as well be a million miles away - they have no transportation or money to get there.
Mduduzi wants to be a businessman and dreams of helping his grandfather. With little money and no income, this family was selected to be part of our Livelihoods Program and they received three female goats. One goat has given birth to a very healthy kid who is three months old. The family is milking the goat and they are getting an average of 350mls of milk per day, which was only a dream a few months ago. The milk volume will increase with the improvement of range and forage since the start of the rainy season, which is fabulous! They can sell any additioanl milk they can't drink, earning some money to pay for other things, like soap, blankets, school fees, and meat. They are using the manure in their maize plot with very good crop stand, making them hopeful that the yield will be enough to sustain them through the upcoming winter.
Their other two goats are at advanced stages of pregnancy, which will help to grow their flock. Since they are not allowed to butcher, sell, trade, or barter their animals for three years, they should have a decent sized flock growing by that time. When asked what this gift of goats meant ot him, Mduduzi said “the goats have made a great difference in my life. We drink milk now, which gives me strength, as well as to my grandfather. Now my friends respect me as a livestock owner. In the next few years, from the way things are going, I will soon be the proud owner of a big flock.” For a 15 year old, what could be better than respect from his peers? Thank you for helping us give this boy exactly what he needs, right now, to have hope in the future, friends!
Have you ever seen someone smile so hugely that you can't help but smile right along with them, even if you don't understand the words being spoken? Well, that happened to me not to long ago, while in Zimbabwe, thanks to you.
You see, some of the goats we've given away are having kids. Some give birth to twins and some to singletons, but each birth is welcome. Most celebrated are the female kids because it means that milk will continue to be provided for a family and that the flock will continue to grow.
I visited a family who wanted nothing more than to show me a brand new kid. And, no words were needed in order to feel the happiness felt by the owner of the baby female goat. The lady, who is raising 3 AIDS orphans, was so proud to show off the new little one and I thought you'd like to meet her, too.
Covenant Christian School in Harrisburg, PA raised funds to purchase three goats and a veterinary kit for children in Zimbabwe. While the kids had the option to pay a dollar in order to wear jeans to school one day, many chose to donate much more and they surpassed their goal!
Here's a note received from Mr. Khumalo, who presented three pregnant female goats to two boys and the veterinary kit to a veterinary assistant trained in by our program. "The goats were given to the orphans, Gabriel, a boy aged sixteen and his brother, Gibon, aged twelve. They come from Sizeze village. Their mother died in 2005 and they are currently staying with their sickly and unemployed father. The boys say, "it is great to know that there are children who care about us who can go an extra mile to an extent of giving us the life-changing gift of goats. We can't wait to have our own herd and to always have milk to drink".
The veterinary kit was presented to Yekelani Ncube, a trained veterinary assistant who is working hard to assist orphan families. He also comes from Sizeze.
Thank you for making donation that affect children like Gabriel and Gibon - you are changing their lives and giving them a future.
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