There are few things that fill my heart as much as a smile of gratitude. Sometimes, they are small, timid smiles that flash across the faces of children who are too shy to offer words. Sometimes, they are wide, gorgeous smiles, full of teeth and usually followed by a crushing hug. Sometimes, they are shared smiles between a grandma and a child for whom she cares, secure that they will be ok now that they have a way to move forward. It doesn't matter which kind of smile is given, they all warm my heart.
This summer, I had the pleasure of visiting families to whom we gave goats last year. They proudly brought the babies to us, holding them gently and getting them ready for vaccinations. Some had 3 kids. Some had 7. It was a miracle, all of it. A miracle that in a dry land, these animals are being born and the herds are growing, providing milk for our children and their guardians.
It was a day for smiles, for sure! We celebrate with the children their well-being and we toast to their prosperity so that they can grow up healthy and strong. We also celebrate YOU and toasat to your own prosperty - thankful for your generosity in providing for the children. We smile widely at you and know that you join us in our joy at watching this project flourish.
If you'd like to visit our programs and would like to visit first hand the children we serve, please email me at tweaver@AFCAids.org. Children like Nwange and his grandma will gladly welcome you to their home and I know they will parade their kids and goats, smiling the entire time.
I had the opportunity to visit some of our projects this summer to see how things are shaking up. It was so neat to be back in Zimbabwe, participating in trainings with guardians and adolescents and watching them as they learn even more on how to care for their goats. We conducted both written and practical trainings and they were great! Vaccinations were done, as well.
After trainings, we all - trainees of all ages and the trainors and I, would sit down to the meal of the day: goat, sadza, some sort of green and hot tea. For the beneficiaries, this was the only meal of the day and probably the only one with meat for a long time. You see, they aren't allowed to eat their goats yet, as they must wait three years before they can kill, barter, sell or eat one of their animals. This is to ensure that their flocks grow big and strong. And, the concept is working because we saw so many baby goats! It was thrilling to see herds growing and to see how healthy the animals are. All in all, the families are expecting this to be a hugely successful venture for them and some are already planning to re-gift some goats to other needy families. Very exciting stuff!
Friends, know that this project is working. It really, really is working.
What seemed quite impossible to do has been done! We aimed high and decided to enter Give for Youth's Matching Challenge in March. With a great call to action and lots of time spent on social media sites, we were able to raise funds for children like Tabiso, Ropafadzo, Mduduzi and many more.
One family, headed up by a widow named Spiwe, received rabbits which they can raise for meat and manure. How exciting it is to know that our efforts and your generosity produced such hope and joy in the lives of others! Spiwe and her children are so excited to see how their rabbits reproduce and as they are sold, become food, blankets, school fees, soap, and rent for them. They are thrilled to know that people they've never met cared enough for them and that they, after many trainings in how to care for small livestock, were called to receive their animals. So far, so good! The rabbits are healthy and with the last bit of rains that came on Zimbabwe, they had plenty of greens to eat. Babies are being born and their warren is growing!
Thank you so much for your generosity, friends. Without you, Spiwe and the kids wouldn't have their bunnies and the hope that came with them.
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