Livestock for 300 Orphan Families in Zimbabwe

by American Foundation for Children with AIDS
Livestock for 300 Orphan Families in Zimbabwe
Livestock for 300 Orphan Families in Zimbabwe
Livestock for 300 Orphan Families in Zimbabwe
Livestock for 300 Orphan Families in Zimbabwe
Livestock for 300 Orphan Families in Zimbabwe
Livestock for 300 Orphan Families in Zimbabwe
Livestock for 300 Orphan Families in Zimbabwe
Livestock for 300 Orphan Families in Zimbabwe
Livestock for 300 Orphan Families in Zimbabwe
Livestock for 300 Orphan Families in Zimbabwe

It's always a good feeling to report that everything is relatively quiet on the home front!  All of our goats are healthy and happy. Our first kids have started to arrive and our first set of twins for this year!  It's an exciting time.  So far all the kids are boys.

Thando and Bheki continue to do a wonderful job of watching over and caring for the tribe. We are thankful for their hard work and attention to our important project. They bring a sense of calmness to all of us.

We are reminded on a daily basis of the goodness around us and that it is made possible by the generous donors like yourself. We don't take it for granted and know that we wouldn't be able to help the children in our community without you.

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. 

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Happy new year to our generous donors!  Our goat project is progressing steadily.  We have had some wonderful rain recently and you can almost hear the grass growing as you walk around!!  The staff are constantly cutting grass at the moment, which we are stacking and keeping dry for the winter.

Generally the tribe is all healthy and we have 22 does who are currently pregnant and will be giving birth in April or May.  Sadly, we have had a couple of losses.  We lost some goats from toxins in some of the plants in the bush.  We lost another one due to staff negligence.  We have had some staff issues, but have a new herdsman, Ben. He has joined us from Matopos and is in training.

As you will see from the photos, everyone is looking healthy and enjoying the fresh green grass.  We look forward to starting construction of the staff housing as soon as the rains ease.

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. 

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Since our last update, our goat tribe has increased!!  We currently have 36 females, 6 bucks and 9 kids!!   

We have started a weekly dipping program to keep the ticks and the tick borne diseases at bay. Otherwise all the animals are healthy.  We have a “Pick Your Own” day at the farm planned in December.  The goats and the project will be part of the kid's farm tour, hoping to encourage local awareness and support.

 At the end of August we had a massive bush fire which burnt through about 2/3 of the plot, burning a large portion of the grazing we were using for the goats, we have been supplementing their food with hay, molasses, salt and some meal.

All 4 of the greenhouses are all looking really good and will hopefully be full of produce for our “Pick Your Own” day in December!

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. 

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We have had three new lives to celebrate, Rabbit, Stewart and Daniel.  Rabbit arrived first and made her demands known early.  Our does remain with their babies for three days and then, while the babies sleep, they go off with the herd to browse and graze, coming back several times during the day to feed their babies.  At four days old the babies sleep most of the time their mums are away.  Birthing usually happens with several mums delivering within days of each other so the babies have company and are not left on their own – very distressing for any child!  Rabbit’s mum, Hope, delivered earlier than expected so on day 3 Rabbit found herself with no company – and she told us she was not happy about the situation.  She cried and called until we thought our hearts would  break, so we decided to bring her into the garden where we were working.  She made herself right at home and, at 4 days old she was bossing the dogs around and demanding to share their space.  Ramsy and Pippa were amazingly patient and tolerant of Rabbit’s disrespect for their positions in the home and allowed her great liberties!  Even to the point of Pippa allowing her to share her bed!

While Rabbit made herself comfortable with us, Fred, who is not the most agile goat, managed to slip off a rock while stretching for a leaf just out of his reach, and found himself stuck between the rock and the fence.  He is a large goat and the space was very small.  It took two strong men to assist him out of his predicament!  He was more embarrassed than hurt, I think!  Before Fred joined us he lived in an area with few rocks, on mostly soft sand and grass.  When he arrived he was not sure what a rock was and struggled to jump onto or off of the rocks which we have in abundance on Morning Star.  He has come a long way since then and this little slip was his first in a long time!

Sadly we have had several deaths in the community over the last few months, mostly the elderly.  One that effected us more personally was the passing of one of our beneficiaries, Elsie.  Elsie had not been well for some months and the doctors were unable to help her.  She was a founder member of our Sewing Club which started in 2012.  She was the member who kept us all laughing at her honest and amusing anecdotes. She leaves two young daughters still at school.  Please pray for them as they face the years ahead without their mother.  The family has very few resources and now have to absorb the expense of yet another two mouths to feed. 

When the sewing group was started, someone asked me, on hearing that most of the ladies had HIV, why I had set myself up for sadness? I didn’t understand the question at first, and she had to explain that when they died from AIDS it would be hard.  It was such an unexpected question!  I had never thought about it like that!  Do I regret starting the group?  Absolutely not!  All of them have had so much to offer in so many ways.  Their lives have opened up so much understanding for me and their friendships and struggles have become part of our lives.  Sad when members have died?  Absolutely.  Regrets?  Not at all.  Should we not be here for each other, despite the potholes along the way?  I have learned more from the people who I have walked alongside than I could have if I had chosen to walk on the otherside of the road. Let us all come alongside each person we meet and hear their stories.  Hopefully it will make us more grateful and compassionate.  AFCA is a true disciple of exactly that.  Finding out the stories and walking the hard roads with them.

Elsie and her two little daughters.  We pray that they have inherited their mother’s strong character.  And may their lives be a little easier than hers was.

Go well and go with someone.

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. 

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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. 

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Organization Information

American Foundation for Children with AIDS

Location: Harrisburg, PA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AFCAids
Project Leader:
tanya weaver
Harrisburg, PA United States
$21,971 raised of $25,000 goal
 
342 donations
$3,029 to go
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