Saturday, December 10, 2011

Animal Life!!!

One of the perks of the job over here is the I am not talking about lions, elephants or giraffes (we don't have giraffes in Liberia!).  I am talking about our small ruminants, livestock, livelihoods and fishponds.  When I am in Foya and go for an early morning run, the goats and sheep are often still slumbering on the road, the roosters are crowing, chickens are scratching-their morning in their little world has started! Sometimes I feel like Dr. Doolittle, holding bunnies, chasing down goats, getting muddy in a fish harvest-it is so much fun!  Here are some pictures of what I mean...(pictures by joni.)

I took this picture-love the self portraits with the bunny!

Second year students for CLP are given chickens to raise.

Goats!  (picture by Loretta :)

Fish harvest-this guy is headed to market!

On a more serious side-these projects have a huge impact on our beneficiaries.  As you have already read-our livelihood and literacy women receive rabbits their first year and chickens their second year to raise for food or to sell.  This brings in another income that can help with school fees or to provide much needed protein to their diet.  Fishponds are managed by community leaders, mostly pastors, and a fish pond (that has 6 ponds in total) can be harvested once a month.  Money raised from fishpond harvests' have helped build new community buildings, churches and have helped vulnerable widows with much needed food.  The SP goat, sheep, pigs and cattle program has also had great success with beneficiaries able to use the meat for food-or to sell  (after they have had offspring) using the money to purchase land, pay for school fees or help re-build their homes.

This man helps his wife take care of the rabbits, this was the first time he had held a rabbit!  He said that he is very proud of his wife for learning and that because of it he also is learning.

One of our woman goat farmers.  They each have to build their own shelter before receiving a goat.

One of the little kids helping with his church's fish harvest.

This year we also have pigs!!! Thanks to our women's empowerment agricultural program.

After the war there was no cattle in Liberia, SP was the first to introduce cattle back into the country.

Animal/Livelihood projects can be difficult to do, animals get sick, or are stolen-BUT they also have great reward for the beneficiary.  One of the programs that I am running for is our livelihood programs such as these-all maintained and run by community farmers/caretakers, who have been trained by our amazing SP staff.  Here are a couple more photos of our cute little animals (don't think about that they may be eaten...think that they will be sold!)

Our Church mobilization program manager Eleanor-with her little baby goat.  Eleanor goes crazy over the baby animals!  She also is helping churches with livelihood programs that will help their communities.

Seriously...can something get any cuter!

The majority of rural Liberians are farmers.  Yes, they grow rice and other veggies, but many of them are also animal farmers.  During the war their animals were taken from them -killed and eaten by soldiers.  When I ask many of the farmers if they had goats or sheep before the war, they all adamantly reply "Yes, but the war came!" 

As I have said before-the projects that I am running for are just small steps to re-building a broken nation and restoring broken lives.  All of these smelly, cute, bleeting, running in the middle of the road, mooing, clucking, snorting animals and fish are playing a HUGE role in doing both. 

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