New beginnings always mean there have been endings. I think I share the feelings of many that we are hopeful that this new year will not be like the old year; that we are heralding in a year of hope and new expectations.
At ‘Morning Star’ ranch, we started the year by rehoming a small herd of our older ‘ladies’ with their babies to a new venue where we will be pushing the production of milk and its by-products (cheese in its many forms!). Sarah, a good friend, has been watching our project with keen interest. She is a small-holder farmer who has a few good dairy cows whose milk and cheese she sells to a small market. We have partnered to promote goat milk into the city of Bulawayo, via her established markets. With her knowledge and well-established dairy, we are hoping to learn the intricacies of cheese-making.
Here are Bruce, Trio and Goatrude settling into their new home. We miss them! However, it is interesting to see how the younger does are stepping up without the older does around. When I go into the paddocks to check and chat to the herd it has always been the older does who will come up to me to see what I may have for them. If the younger girls come too close, one look or butt, from them and they scuttle away. Now those younger girls are keen to come up to me and are delighted when they get the head scratch the older girls used to get! This photo shows a few of the does that beneficiaries have returned to us after their three-year contracts expired. Beauty, bottom right, came into us pregnant and produced Luke, a good-looking boy. It has been interesting to meet the characters that have been returned and watch how they have integrated with the rest of the herd.
Another new beginning in the community woke us at 6am on 2 January with a cry for help to take a new mum and her baby to the clinic. The baby had decided to arrive 10 days early and was born at 5am at home. It is always a surprise to me to see how strong most of our rural ladies are. Mum, holding the baby, walked casually out of her house and climbed into the car while her mum and sisters accompanied her to the clinic. The other photos are of the clinic and the hand-sterilizing on entry!
When we finally returned home in November, it was to unpack and distribute items sent to us in the AFCA container! Many items were delivered to the above clinic where their resources are incredibly limited. Even band-aids are scarce. The bandages and birthing kits brought big smiles to the clinic staff! While the mother kits brought smiles as well as tears to the mothers who have so far received them. There are many more where those came from and mothers with their new babies will be receiving them as they leave the clinic after delivery. These were welcome gifts for many! Thank you to all the people involved in the collection, packing and work that it took to actually get the container from the USA to Zimbabwe!
And so another year is on its way to next year! 2020 seemed to move so fast, despite all the abnormalities that occurred world-wide. For us the ‘Morning Star’ phrase we have lived by, over the years, seems to be more true than ever: ‘The plan in there is no plan!’ Now we can add: ‘The normal is there is no normal!’ We are learning to live with no set plans but a quiet, ‘Let us see what the Lord’s plans are!’
Everyone here at the American Foundation for Children with AIDS, and our partners in Africa, thank you for your continued support of this important project. If you would like to learn even more about this project and others, please contact Tanya Weaver at tweaver@AFCAids.org.