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

In Africa, we don't refer to rain as simply "rain".  For some reason, we call it "the rains".  I don't know why this is, but maybe it is because the rains have such power over people.  If there is no rain, crops fail, animals die and people starve.  But, if the rains are too hard, the earth is too dry to take the onslaught of water and erosion occurs, crops are squashed under the weight of the water, and the suffering continues.

Right now, in Zimbabwe, this is exactly what happened.  After such a long time of drought and dry, dry, DRY weather, the skies opened up and the RAINS came down.  They came and they came and they came.  While the maize flats were flattened, the rivers and dams are being filled.  Where the earth hasn't been eroded, bits of green is shooting up, giving livestock something to chew on.  These are some happy little goats, rabbits, guinea fowl and chickens, let me tell you!  Finally, green to eat! They will produce more milk now than at any other time of the year, and for that, we are grateful.  And, they will drop manure to be used in the gardens, which is a blessing.  All in all, the rains are bringing life back to many.

It's wild, this cycle in life.  Everything in moderation, seems to be the cry.  Yes, we need the rains, but we need them to come in bits and pieces, not in a huge downpour, day in and day out.  We don't know if we should cry or dance.  We have rains, which gives us water, which we desperately need.  But, we also have devastation, erosion and homeless as their houses were washed away.  We take the rains, as we take much of what comes our way - with gratitude mingled with hurt for those who hurt.

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Julia, Juju and Gogo
Julia, Juju and Gogo

This summer, my family and I spent eight weeks in Zimbabwe distributing goats and animals and working side by side with our partners on the ground.  I've been to Zimbabwe many times and love it!  I wanted to share the experience with my family, so Eric and I took our 3 year old son Aiden, 7 year old daughter Julia (Juju) and 15 year old niece Morgan with us for a summer to remember.

The kids were amazing.  Never a complaint, even when we had no water or electricity (every day, for half a day, we'd have neither). No TV. No toys in our suitcases. Just good old dirt, trees, sticks and the great outdoors was enough to keep everyone occupied and amazed day in and day out.  They rode in the truck with me to deliver animals -sometimes 6 hours each way.  They ate any food they were presented with, including Mopani worms.  They smiled, laughed, made friends, and loved Zimbabwean life.

As we visited orphaned families to deliver animals, we met many Gogos (grandmothers) who are raising grandchildren left to them when their own children died of AIDS.  In some cases, they raise 8 or 9 kids!  Some are very old and some of the gogos look young, but have many years to them.  In all cases, I watched with wonder as the kids made themselves at home, helping women cook or sitting in a circle with the adults as we distributed animals.  It was phenomenal to watch. 

The most beautiful thing was knowing that inside of these kids, something was changing.  Something inside of them was changing and they were becoming less attached to things and more able to see needs that even they, in their young years, could fill, even if it was to give a hug to a child. They started looking forward to waking up and playing simply, without the encumbrances of too many things.  They went to bed tired, having played and run and screamed and made mud cakes.  They went to bed with bellies full of good Zimbabwean food, not thinking of asking for "normal" food.  

My take away from this summer - not only were children and Gogos changed when they were given fantastic gifts that will help them become self-reliant, but my family was forever changed, as well.  Thank you for the gift you've given so many families!  Without you, they wouldn't have hope.  You've done a good thing, friends. 

Aiden and Josh
Aiden and Josh
Eric tagging goat ears
Eric tagging goat ears
Morgan and baby David
Morgan and baby David

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Receiving the gift of goats
Receiving the gift of goats

The small livestock project seeks to empower orphan families who are infected and affected by HIV AIDS. These families are capacitated through training and then assisted to start the livestock project. This year, the areas of Mayezane, Mahwanke, Sizeze, Sibhula, Coronation and Gwaranyemba received goats with each orphan family getting three female goats.Maphane site received chickens with each family getting five birds.Mayezane and Mahwanke sites also received rabbits with each orphan family receiving two female rabbits.


Veterinary assistants were trained in all these sites and were equipped with veterinary kits. They are very active treating the distributed livestock and assisting other community members with issues pertaining to their livestock.

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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
$19,164 raised of $20,500 goal
 
293 donations
$1,336 to go
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