Mamas with big tummies are waddling around preparing to surprise us with a delivery or two! Already this birthing time we have been presented with 11 babies. In that number are included twins by our half Kalahari doe. Bruce is the father, so we are getting closer to breeding pure Kalahari Red goats. The twins, Henri and Mercy are also amongst the 11 and are a good size. We anticipate they will be fine specimens when they are full-grown.
Before we left for break there were two mamas, Marci and Demmy, who were obviously so close to delivery. We were sure they would deliver before we left and so we visited them regularly, day and night, to see how they were doing and begging them to birth before we left. The last thing we did before getting into the car, on the day we left, was to check on them once more – but nothing. We were eager to meet these babies as they would be Fred’s first babies to be born since his arrival on the farm in March of this year. No sooner did we arrive in town (a 90 minute drive) than I received a text saying BOTH of them had given birth!!! Marci produced a whopping 8 pound doeling and Demmy presented us with a set of twins; a buckling weighing in at 6 ½ pounds and a girl at 6 pounds. Well done Fred! This will hopefully be the start of the milking herd. In a little more than a year these two girls should be producing their own babies and therefore milk. A number of does who are due to deliver soon are first timers. It is good to be close by to help if necessary, although our assistance is seldom needed!
Last month we delivered to two further beneficiaries: Easy received Tess, Cocoa and Hobo, while Jabulani received Marty McFly, Toot Toot and Mango. Jabulani had a smile from ear to ear when he visited us, a few weeks after receiving his does, to tell us that they had all birthed and he now had eight goats! In just over a month his herd more than doubled!
As we entered our second year of our partnership with AFCA and the goat project (we had a herd of around 50 goats at that time with some does pregnant), I remember Tanya asking if we wanted to expand the herd. Our reply was – ‘Not yet, let us get established with this number first, we still have a lot to learn.’ Well, we are into our third year and like it or not our herd has expanded to just under 100! We are STILL learning and STILL have a lot to learn, but it has been a fun time with some heartaches along the way, but so many more highs than lows. Meeting the folks who join AFCA’s visiting teams has been a definite high, making friends that often feel like family by the time they leave. Sharing what we are doing with the teams and their enthusiasm refreshes us for the harder days we face. Right now, our major concern is the drought and the scarcity of water in our region.
One of the challenges we had to face with a larger herd was staffing. We needed to employ another man for the goat team and asked Keith to join us. He lives on the border of the ranch and is the son of a lady, Emma, who we often ask to help in the camp when we have visiting teams with us. Talking of additional helpers, we had a young man spend a few days with us and he asked if there was something he could do to help us. NEVER do you ask me that question unless you seriously want to help! Micah Witherow sat for several days updating the goat records, from the simplest of data collection to the more ‘interesting’ activity of creating new records following buck and doe progeny. LOTS of work! He did a great job as I had not been able to fully update the records since the start of our teams arriving in June.
Thanks for taking the time to share our triumphs and challenges. Please keep us in your prayers and thoughts as we struggle through this dry time towards the hope of early rains.
Finally, I read this today and felt there is a lot of truth in it, so I share it with you!
A great thinker was asked, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ He replied, ‘Life itself has no meaning, it is an opportunity to create a meaning.’
Be strong, be kind and create meaning in your life!
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.
Micah Hard at Work Doing Administration