Tag Archives: gift a goat

Lovely’s Goats

Melinda, John, Helene, Peter, Caitlin

The team made it back from Haiti!

Tired, but encouraged.

The goat program is really making a difference for the students. They are growing their herds, selling the males in the market to buy more females, taking pride in their work. It is such a wonderful sight to see a student walking 3 or 4 or 5 goats to us for their checkup.

This is a mama goat with her daughter and granddaughters

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Filed under Haiti, Hydromissions

“You look like you’re coming off an international flight”

Goat Team (minus Melinda)

As the four of us followed the long line of people heading to airport security, a TSA agent said “Where are you coming from?” When we responded “South Jersey,” she looked surprised and said “you look like you’re coming off an international flight.” We knew we were tired (we all had an hour or less sleep) but we didn’t realize HOW bad we actually looked ūüėČ 

Our morning started just after midnight and by the time we saw the TSA agent, we had already driven up to JFK, parked off-site, took a shuttle and stumbled through tagging our checked bags properly. 

Honestly, I am really too tired to head out again. I only had three full days Stateside since Panama and a lot of that time was just unpacking Panama and packing Haiti. It will be a quick trip though, so it will all be fine. I just feel a little “old” on these back-to-back projects. 

We are heading back to Haiti for the goat program (finally!). We really feel like this is a bit of a “re-start” of the program. We lost two dozen-ish goats in Hurricane Matthew (the reports are not clear so we will know for sure when we arrive in Marbial). We are also having trouble purchasing goats now because of the hurricane – no one has goats for sale since so many died in the region. We are supplementing the program with offspring from our former student’s goats. 

I’m glad to be back and glad to get some information about the students and the goats. We want to evaluate how the program is doing and see what changes, if any, we can make for the future. 

Our team is a mix of old and new. We have a new trainer, Melinda, from GA. Melinda will join Helene in teaching the goat care lecture and evaluating the goats. We also have a new helper- Helene’s husband, Peter. Peter will work with John in goat care and construction. 

We will be completely off-grid up in the mountains, so this will be our only post until we return home.

We can still send a receive messages via our satellite messenger. Just click here to send us a message.


Filed under Haiti

Progress in the field and on the fundraiser! 

I’m happy to report that Gift a Goat & More!¬†has¬†made it to $12,400 in one month! Thank you for your support! Please help us keep the momentum going by sharing the campaign with your friends and family during its final three¬†weeks.

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Click on the link above or the photo itself to be directed to the “Gift a Goat & More!” campaign.

The project is going well here in Panama. There have been moments of extreme challenge as we held meetings and tried to set schedules to¬†keep the community working together for their water line. We made a lot of progress this past weekend – we placed, glued and buried about 1600′ of the pipeline.

Existing leaky pipe on the left. New pipe (during install) on the right.

Existing leaky pipe on the left. New pipe (during install) on the right.

It might not sound like a lot of work, but just to show you – this is my Fitbit summary from my work day on Saturday.

My dad bought me a Fitbit this summer and it has been fun to track how far I go. Plus the heart rate monitor is a good tool – especially when I was sick.

Nearly 11 miles of walking up and down the line as we worked. And those “53 floors” are just the Fitbits¬†interpretation of all the times I went over the hills from the reservoir to the end of the water line.

I get lots of minor bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes working. I have been burned by the sun, fire, chemicals and ovens, however this is the first time I got a wee chemical burn from a plant. I learned, after the fact, that the plants “sap” in the stalk part can literally burn your skin off. I had been grabbing leaves from plants in the jungle to clean off the pipes before I glued them. I selected the wrong plant and got burned on top of my finger. My finger¬†started oozing serum¬†immediately. I am still not good at identifying the plants, so the rest of the day, I kept asking the guys before grabbing leaves…and I plan to continue asking them for the duration of the project ūüôā

Can you believe a nice green plant did this to me?

Can you believe a nice green plant did this to me? This is after it healed over 2 days. 

After work on Sunday, I headed over to a hostel called Bambuda on a neighboring island. The owners, Dan and Tom, are really nice and are financially supporting part of the pipeline project in the village. They spoiled me with a private room for the night (and food!). It was really nice. I stayed until around 3:30pm on Monday, spending most of my time reading a book I brought to Panama, but had yet to open until Monday morning. Below is a photo to entice you to visit the lodge if you ever make it to Panama РI am sure it is one of the most beautiful and relaxing places in the entire country.

Buena Vista (

Buena Vista (“good view”) from the deck at Bambuda!


Filed under Hydromissions, Panama

Better grades for goats

I got home early yesterday morning from a short (productive) project in Haiti!

This was Phase 2 of the Gift a Goat program started last year by me and my sister, Helene.

We had Dana and John return with us for their second time in Marbial and Chelsey joined us for her first time volunteering abroad. Our team worked together well and we were able to split up to work on different aspects of the project.  Dana and Helene focused on training the new students who will be recipients of the Phase 2 goats (35 goats) while also checking on the Phase 1 goats.  Chelsey, John and I worked on the Phase 2 goats by checking, tagging and deworming them.

We were all so excited to see the students from our December trip bringing us their goats to check and showing off some babies that were born while we were gone. ¬†The students took really good care of their goats and they were very healthy. We did lose one goat out of the 32 given to students, but we expected that might happen. There was an illness killing goats all over the mountain. Ours survived while most others did not.¬†The loss of goats from larger herds increased the price we paid for our Phase 2 goats at the market. We were only able to purchase 30 goats with the money that should have bought us 37 goats. “Supply and demand” even in the most remote places. The good news is that another organization donated 7 goats so our number of goats for students stayed the same!

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Haiti, here we come!

We are heading back to Haiti today! Phase 2 of the Goat Program!

We are giving 32 more goats to the students in Marbial, treating and tagging the goats, providing more training to the student and community  and checking the goats we brought into the community in December, 2014.

Check out the video below to see Phase 1:

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I just want to thank you all who helped make the first phase of “Gift a Goat” so successful! We currently have 35 female goats in the community being cared for by the students themselves with 32 more goats funded (but not yet purchased). In addition, 10 female goats and 1 male¬†goat (billy goat) were purchased by the school to help set a good example to the students (and the billy goat will be available to the students when it is time for breeding). I would love it if you could take 3 minutes and 43 seconds to watch this video I put together to show Marbial (the remote community), the students, the goat committee, trainers and the goats themselves. ¬†It is the best way I can take you into the community that you supported.

Lastly (yet most important), thank you all for keeping Helene in your prayers. She had amebiasis. She was treated with strong antibiotics and was better by Christmas Eve. The bugs inside caused a lot of pain for the past 3 weeks, but she is not deterred from returning to Haiti in March for Phase 2 of the goat project. Helene (and teammates) will be returning to offer more training to the community and bring more supplies to maintain the health of the goats.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

‚̧ Caitlin



Filed under Haiti

Goats don’t need water. Right?

IMG_3167.JPGThe mountain community who received the training from Helene and Dana were surprised to learn that goats needed water daily. The community was really receptive to the training and interacted with many questions over the 4 days. In the end, they learned about basic goat care, first aid, breeding and milking. On the last day of class, some community members brought their personal goats for the girls to check. John and I helped with caring for the 45 goats we had on the property for the students and the school. I also taught hygiene classes at the end of the goat classes.

All-in-all, it went really well!

We are currently sitting in the airport in Miami waiting to fly to Philly. I leave again (along with John) to go to El Salvador early tomorrow morning to survey and buy materials for my upcoming 2-month project in January.

Please keep Helene in your prayers. She has been extremely ill since Saturday night (as soon as she finished tagging the last goat, she started feeling sick). She is going straight to a hospital in North Jersey when we return where there is an infectious disease doctor awaiting her arrival. I am anxious about leaving tomorrow with her being so sick, but my project is only 5 days long and I will (hopefully) have cell reception in the mountains to keep in touch with her progress.



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