Tag Archives: livestock

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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“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 😉 

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.

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I should be in Haiti right now, but I’m in chilly NJ!

I bet if I looked back at all my blog posts, a high percentage would start out with some variation of “sorry it has taken me so long to write…” 🙂

I did not intend to be Stateside so long after the holidays, but our project to Haiti, originally slated for January, was postponed to February and finally cancelled last week.

It feels odd to be home right now because my schedule (which I had been working on for months) was to be in Haiti with a team of animal science and agriculture trainers. Our team of 6 women was supposed to arrive in Port Au Prince on Saturday, but due to political unrest and riots, we had to cancel our trip. The goats have already been purchased and will be distributed to the students in Marbial by our local contacts in Haiti this week.

Last year, I wrote a blog post about how much research and planning goes into my projects before I leave the States. It can take up to a year from when we get the project application until we have a team in the community. One of the hardest events to follow/predict are elections. I generally try to avoid countries during elections, but sometimes it is inevitable. In the case of Haiti, a new president should have been selected months ago, but votes were cancelled indefinitely after allegations of fraud and distrust led to protests and riots.

I wrote a 2-page letter that donors to the Goat project received last week. It details what is going on in Haiti and how our program will continue even though we are not there physically. If interested, read it here: Letter about the Gift a Goat program.

Special thanks to Oregon Girl Scout Troop 10143 and Saint Mary’s CCD students. Troop 10143 sent me an awesome care package with supplies for the students in Haiti. The package included important hygiene items like toothpaste, toothbrushes and soaps. Saint Mary’s CCD students raised enough money for a little over 3 goats and each student made a card for me to bring to the kids in Haiti. I am keeping all those items packed and ready to go as soon as we reschedule our flights to Haiti 🙂

In addition to raising funds for Haiti, the “Gift a Goat & More!” campaign also raised enough money to build a water tower and latrines in San Antonio, Guatemala and latrines in La Cumbre, El Salvador. I am heading to Guatemala on February 23rd to work in San Antonio. I am excited to be working with the same community I worked with back in 2009 (see post “Then and Now” to read about San Antonio).

Lastly, I will take a couple weeks to study Spanish while I am in Guatemala to improve my communication skills (wahoo!.. maybe I will learn how to say “wahoo!” in Spanish 😉 )

Thank you for your support of these projects!

p.s. There are some pros to being home in February – the last time I was home for my birthday was back in 2012. Now I can take advantage of all those coupons that come in only for your “birthday month” 😉

Building a snowman for Schmitty is another plus to being home for some extra time this winter :)

Building a snowman for Schmitty is another plus to being home for some extra time this winter 🙂

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Filed under El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti

Gift a Goat and More!

 

Back in the Ngobe village on Isla Bastimentos in Panama

 
At 2:30am on Tuesday morning, before my flight out to Panama, I launched my most ambitious crowd-funding campaign to date. I crowd-fund once a year to help me reach goals for certain projects that I cannot financially support with my own funding. I was really nervous about setting a goal of $20,000 for this campaign, however, I have three projects I would like to complete from Januaray to March in 2016 that will cost roughly $18,000. That’s just my first three months next year – I’ll have many more after that! If this works out, I’ll be able to give latrines to families in San Antonio, Guatemala and La Cumbre, El Salvador; goats to students in Marbial, Haiti and a new water system to San Antonio, Guatemala. 

I was so nervous when I launched the campaign online that I checked it as many times as I could on Tuesday during my down-time while traveling. A watched pot doesn’t boil, right? My campaign didn’t boil on the first day. 

On Wednesday, I was working in the Ngobe village all day so I didn’t check the campaign until I came “home” for dinner. I checked my email and was so surprised by the donations I received already that I had to re-read them a few times to make sure I read them correctly – $5,800 towards my goal! This is incredible! The campaign is heating up now 😉 

Thank you all so much for your donations! 

If you haven’t seen the funding site yet, here is the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gift-a-goat-more/x/8917480#/

Please check it out and share it with friends so we can spread the gift of goats and more!

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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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THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

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

 

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