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Cameroon Assisted Farmers

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Aaron KAAH

The Santa Mbei community some 30km from Bamenda the capital of the North West Region of Cameroon was the neighbourhood with living proofs and testimonies from pig farmers as a US study tour team made of Elanco employees visited Heifer Cameroon assisted farm families and CIG’s on the 27th of may 2011 during a working tour to this community. The team understood in earnest what the animals had done in the lives of the farm families, their close relatives and friends in these communities, as they moved in to their homes and animal farms to access the impact of the projects. In a show of pride and wealth David Njei a Pig farmer who received Heifer pigs in 2007 talked the team down to his accomplishments and the training Heifer Cameroon had given him and his group members at the preliminary stages of the project. While showing the team his pen, David kept count of how much the animals had supported his family not only with compost for his vegetable garden where he farms carrots, green beans and garbage but income for the education of his children. ……..This looks really good” Lisa a team member said. Impressed on David’s project Marleen New said it was very interesting to know the farmer had invested in dogs like other livestock breeders in the community to protect his pigs from thieves that were once a threat to his project. “I’m also heart warmth because of the education of his children”Marleen concluded. In paying particular attention to the feeding and hygiene of the animals, Dr Gary Sexton sort answers on the fed composition from the couple and charged them to improve and concentrate more on the feeding and care for their animals and to avoid in breeding as a means of minimizing low productivity. “Nutrition is a big part of the project” concluded Kerry Keffaber. David and his wife have eight children and six are in school. He has bought new household equipment and now saves income in a local micro financial scheme for rainy days. David and his wife are members of the Mbei community forest common initiative group.

At the pig farm of Violet Atanga, a widow whose late husband had left with her seven children, two other widows and their children and a few farms to survive on, the team listened to her riveting testimonies of how Heifer Cameroon donated pigs and trainings had brought hope and relief to her household and how the knowledge gained was inspiring them (widows) to work together. “I received my animal (two sows and one boar) on June 30th 2008 and had finished my POG”….violet excited as she showed her farm to the group. Impressed by the housing facilities and the hygienic conditions around Violets animals as well as her POG, Courtney Knupp said the widows were inventive and improvised every thing HPI stands for. “With compost from the project I’ve improved the quality of my farm fields for excellent out put and sold animals for the education of my children and for the payment of health care bills” violet told her guest. Violet answered a few questions on her project, how she was coping with the fluctuating market trends. Grady Bishop praised the widow for her hard work and achievements and remaindered her that learning and sharing was key to success. Violet is a member of the Mbei struggling widow’s common initiative group with 45 members.

At the third stop over of the day Sama Emmaculate member of the Mbei community forest CIG -while leading the team round her pen with 4pigs burst out with testimonies on how the Heifer donated animals and mentorings had transformed her life and that of her sidings, “From the marketing of this swines we afforded other food items form the near by markets” she said. Mike Tockach questioned the hygienic and sanitation conditions of the pig farm and remained Emmaculate of the need to respect the basic feeding and sanitation valves in a bid to sustain her joy and comfort. The team paid particular attention to the feeding composition for her animals and listened to her vivid explanations on the breeding of the pigs. Next, the team was elated in the piggery of Comfort Afanyi member of the Mbei struggling women’s Common initiative group where a visibly healthy boar and two sows depicted good care for the pigs. Dr Fent Joe, Mike Tockach and Lisa took turns asking the farmer of her animal breeding pattern and the gains she had reaped from the project. Comfort referred to the income earned from the project as a “stitched in time that saved nine” she exalted Heifer Cameroon for coming to her aid and that of her group members after the dead of their husbands with animals and kindness. She attributed the education of her children and the affordability of three square meals for her family as fall over’s from the project.

At the village community hall were the team was later received by group members of the Mbei community forest and Mbei struggling women common initiative groups, the pomp and pageantry generated from the songs and dance to welcome the guest was over whelming. In a welcome address to the team by the leader of the two groups, the representative said Heifer Donated animals and trainings were a vital tool for the reawakening of group members as well as their communities. He said the hope harvested from the various projects stimulated good health, quality education buried gender stereotypes, environmental hygiene, love and sharing. The representative thanked the study tour team for coming to share in their experiences and for motivating them for greater achievements. In rapturous testimonies that followed from the group members, the widows said it was easy to forget the dead of their husbands with the birth of the projects in their communities. Some of the speakers told the study tour team that their miraculous recovery brought about constructed news homes for them and their love ones, spare cash and surplus food crops. Almost driven to tears, only melodious songs could translate the feelings of most of these women and men who at their best grappled with words, with which to thank Elanco and Heifer international donors back in the USA.

Responding to the CIG’s, Grady Bishop on behalf of the study tour team said the songs and the smiles in the groups told them how much fulfillment had come their way. “We are\separated by distance but we all have the same passion and benefits in rearing livestock” Grady told the audience. He appreciated the farmers for improving on their livestock, for POG and for the ability to work together. “We have been given a great gift and that’s what HPI has done in your lives and we pledge to tell your story back in our country” he concluded.

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posted @ 6:10 PM,


At September 19, 2012 at 12:27 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This was damn inspiring to know about such activity. Hats off to Cameroon and US study tour team. You did a fab job. Keep posting such exciting stuffs.


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