Tag Archives: Marbial

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 😉 

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

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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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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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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4 packs instead of just 1

IMG_3029.JPGI am heading back to Haiti with a small team (Helene, Dana & John) to launch Phase 1 of the “Gift a Goat” program!

With your partnership in funding, we were able to raise enough money for 67 goats!!! We will not get all the goats during this first phase, but plan to start out with about 35 now and add to the herd slowly over the next few months.

Helene and Dana will be teaching seminars daily to the students and community members on goat care, breeding, first aid and milking in the morning and tagging/handling the goats in the afternoon. John and I will be helping with the actual goat tagging and physical care as well as hygiene education.

Traveling with so many people has made it possible for us to bring additional supplies for the community in Marbial. Besides all the goat health and care items, we packed up hygiene supplies and 20 canisters of iodized salt to help with the iodine deficiency in that village. To read more about why iodized salt is so important, check out this link: http://data.unicef.org/nutrition/iodine

We will be completely off-grid in Marbial, so please remember us in prayer this week. We are praying for safety, health and that the training is received well. We are also praying that the goat transfer goes well – we are buying the goats locally, but they are still quite far from the village and will need to be walked/carried to Marbial. We are not exactly sure what to expect when we finally arrive, but that is typical working abroad 😉

Au Revoir!

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