Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Goat who had a Cow

We saw other organizations doing animal projects to help those in poverty. The idea is that you give an animal instead of money to a person in poverty to help them not spend the money right away. This is a great idea in theory, but what I’m learning from living in Africa with the very poor is that people don’t live in poverty because they lack things. Poverty is deeper than just a lack of items, it’s a mindset. The cure for poverty isn’t just giving items or money, the cure for poverty is quite complex and seems to be different for each person within poverty.
What I’ve seen is that in every community, rich, poor, middle class, there are go getters, there are people who when given a little make it more. Monica is just such woman.
Monica and her husband had 4 children and as the story with many women in her village goes Monica’s husband died. She digs her land to provide food for her family. Any extra food that is left Monica sells to the locals in her community so she can buy things she can’t grow like oil, soap, clothes, and candles.
When we met Monica she had a few chickens and a goat. The problem with keeping animals is that when you are hungry your animals get eaten and are no longer kept. Monica understood this but she also understood that animals give birth to more animals. She had a proposal for us. She asked us if we would front the money and purchase a goat for her, this way she would have two…you understand where I’m going with this. Her proposal didn’t end there. Monica has a business mind and knew that a gift of a goat was a bad idea for the investor. She proposed that the goat we bought for her would remain our goat and the first baby would belong to her as payment for keeping our goat. Then the second baby would be ours and so on every other kid belonging to each other.
You can see where this idea of running an animal project would be beneficial but also take a lot of supervision. Living in the capital city and monitoring the birth of goats 5 hours away in village got overwhelming to us. (we might pick up the concept when we move into the village).
Now on to the title of my post where the goat has a cow. Monica gave it time and her two goats and a few chickens turned into quite a number of goats and chickens. With each batch of chicken Monica would trade them in for a goat. Monica called us with a new proposition. She wanted to take her now herd of goats (who were eating her out of house and home and driving her crazy) and trade them in for a cow. We gave her permission to use our goat to help in the “purchase” to a cow.
When we went last weekend to check on Monica’s cow we found that it wasn’t a cow but a bull. Monica explained to us that there is enough milk in the village but cows needed to give birth to give more milk. Not many people want to keep bulls because there isn’t the instant payoff with milk and calving. So Monica bought a bull for stud. With time she will rent out her bull to all those with milk cows.

This is why I say that poverty is complex because even with all that Monica is capable of doing she still lives in poverty. She is still stuck in the system that permeates her community. Poverty is something that needs to be tackled holistically. But improving one’s situation and in turn changing the community, slowly, slowly. That can help. Jesus said, “there will always be the poor among you”. But removing obstacles for the poor is going in the right direction.

Visiting after 3 Months

Last weekend we went to Kiwanyi for a visit after a 3 month absence. We were amazed at the joy on people’s faces as we drove through. Driving on the backroads is a slow process with no car traffic. There are many stops for crossing chickens, goats, bicycles, etc so we bring the boys in front with us to see what is happening.  It was so cute to watch them use their new founded skill of waving. Ezra’s eyes would light up when the people would wave back at him. (the man is a social butterfly, not sure where he got that)

Once within Kiwanyi we were overwhelmed by the favor that we have in the people’s eyes. We had so many people come to see us and say hello. A few men of the village created an impromptu meeting concerning how the process of the hospital is going. We shared the information we knew and they filled us in with what is happening on the local side. It is great to see that this hospital has become a community project with the people of the village doing research, talking to politicians, and keeping the idea fresh in people’s minds. We thank the Lord that he has given this vision to more than just us to care for.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A House in Paradise

We are in transition.

Isaac has one more year of residency in surgery and then we will be free from obligations to the capital city. No more traffic, busy schedule, and dust.

Oh wait...we're going to the village so I guess there will be dust, and a busy schedule and foot traffic ;)

First phase of transition is the purchase of land, check.

Then there must be a structure on the land. We started with the pit latrine. This is common for an area with no piped water or sewage system.

Next is the house.

We prayed over the plans and the groundbreaking. This area has strongholds with witchcraft and islamic belief systems so the builder specifically asked us to pray over the land publicly so that locals wouldn't "help" us by sacrificing on the land on our behalf.

The design of the house is made to accommodate short term visitors, so the house is bigger than our neighbors expected. It also has a large porch on the front and back to accommodate my white skin that is prone to burning. We hope that the back porch will be screened in to allow mosquito free evening sitting.

I am finally reading the book "The Hole in our Gospel" and I can't help but get excited about the things God has in store us in Kiwanyi. Not that we are going to help the poor, which is true, but that we will learn so much about God's love through living with the poor.

The boys and I watched as the "walls" of our house went up in string.

It was amazing being on the land...this is truly a beautiful place to live. I'm excited with what the future holds.