7 January 2012
Today had a program! First, to feed the goats. This entailed taking the branches out of the trough that had already been stripped of their bark and leaving the ones that hadn’t for the goats to keep eating. Then, planting coffee trees. The holes had been prepared and just needed to have the seedlings put in with a little water. Then pruning coffee plants, which is pretty easy and kind of enjoyable. Then, briefly, cleaning banana trees. This is taking off dead strips. There’s a monthly calendar farmers should follow, and these are activities for January. Then off to visit some local KEDA farmers. They also have a goat project and people are definitely benefiting from it. The buildings for the goats aren’t as big or as uniform as the ones in Samanga. One of the people we visited is a widow. She sells the goats’ milk and gets Tsh1000 (about 75 cents) per litre. The animals give 8-10 litres a day when not pregnant. She also has cows whose calves she sells. She sent her daughter to university with the profits (she’s studying economics). Another person we visited started with one goat and has now sold more than twenty! They built two new outbuildings and sent the kids to school with the profits. The funny thing is, though, these people still look poor. The goat projects, etc, have really helped them raise their income significantly, yet from looking at them, you would still think they’re poor. But while they may be poor, I guess they’ve escaped the truly grinding poverty that many still live in.
Diversity of projects is key. Pigs, goats, cows, etc – keeping different ones means having a more reliable income, reliable income being a key hindrance for the very poor. How do you plan for the future when you only know you have money now with no guarantee of it next week or next month? You just spend it now because you don’t know if you’ll have it in the future.
The day ended with me roasting and grinding coffee from the farm! And then drinking it, of course!