Handicrafts and Appropriate Technology

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Farming for future

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Aaron Kaah

The gift of a dairy cow can change the life of a family. Lukong Cyprian was a proud recipient of a Heifer Cameroon pregnant purebred Holstein dairy cow through his Dzekwa multipurpose farmer’s society in 1997. The animal transformed not only the dreams of Cyprian in to a reality but those of his loved ones, the widows and orphans he helps provide milk for, and the many boys he employs to works on his farm fields for an income at the Vekovi village in Jakiri sub division, Some 85KM from Bamenda, the capital of the North West Region in Cameroon of West Africa. Today Cyprian is a fulfilled husband, a model farmer and social entrepreneur.

Before benefiting the assistance in livestock training and donation, Cyprian, his wife Relindis and four children, lived in a mud brick three room houses with dirt floors, a licking roof and with limited house hold equipment. “We used the seating room as our kitchen” Cyprian recalled. Like every one in the village they farmed for a living with hoes and cutlasses. In search of change Cyprian and his friend Philip Sahwai decided to form the Dzekwa Multipurpose farmer’s society but did not have the skills or motivation needed to brave the poverty storms. “I was doing completely nothing at that time” he said at the time. To provide for her family Cyprian’s wife Relindis hustled the best she could - buying and selling gari (cassava by-product) to feed her family through long distant villages. Cyprians attempts to fight poverty saw him applying for a teaching job as a contract teacher in 1991 on a minimal salary of 12$US a month. “Life for me and my family was senseless” Cyprian cried at the time. His mother was battling a life threatening stomach problem, his children were suffering from malnutrition-lack of school needs and painfully without any means to afford medication, epilepsy was eating the life of one of their kids. In the late 1992 Cyprian and his friend Philip, the two pioneer members of Dzekwa Multipurpose farmer’s society heard of Heifer Cameroon and contacted them for assistance. In 1993 Heifer Cameroon responded positively. The first step involved the farmers being trained on rabbit management. Next, Cyprian and Philip are given two rabbits each. Dreaming of a renewed life Cyprian formidably transformed his Heifer trainings in to action and steadily diversified in to poultry farming in 1995.

In 1997 Heifer Cameroon retained Cyprian’s group for a dairy farming project. Cyprian took trainings on livestock management and manure use, Heifer 12cornerstones of love and sharing, gender equity, home sanitation and hygiene and HIV and AIDS awareness campaign in readiness to receive an animal. On August 15th 1997, Heifer Cameroon rewarded Cyprian with a purebred Holstein dairy cow for his sense of commitment and determination. Cyprian and his family willingly submitted their might in to the project, respecting their course prescriptions to the latter. “What I couldn’t dream of in my life became a reality” Cyprian said beaming with smiles. From the dairy, Cyprian milked the unthinkable success for his life and family. The milk from the cow is consumed by his family, shared with close and distant love ones and neighbors and marketed for extra income in the near by markets.

Today Cyprian and his wife have achieved in few years dreams they never thought of in their lives and community. They have landed property and many vegetable farms fields. Contrary to the past Cyprian now earns 200$US monthly from the sells of food crops and milk by products. “I have a well furnished 7 room house constructed with income from dairy” Cyprian said. Cyprian’s family has afforded standard household equipment like a TV set, and seating chairs. Their children have being through college and one of the kids Emily once devastated by epilepsy is strong and healthy and her treatment is afforded thanks to the income earned from the farms. “My mother survived a serious stomach operation thanks to income form the project after many years in pain” Cyprian said rejoicing to tears after having spent 400$US for her mother’s surgery. Through the dairy project they can now afford three square meals, and reach out to the needy in their community with milk, food and counseling.

Cyprian has curbed idleness by employing some youths in his community. He has counseled them to start livestock projects of their own with the cash they are earning, to save for rainy days and betters ways of expanding their activities for more income, to work in collaboration with their wives and children and to know their HIV and AIDS status.

With good social and financial plans for their family and community, Cyprian and his wife Relindis see their love growing and their confidence to tackle any obstacle is overwhelming. “I agree with my husband before we carry out any thing in the family” Relindis said. The couple have a joint account worth 300$US at the local credit union.

Since 1997 Cyprians dairy has blossomed with 11offspring. He has gone to the market with 5 animals including his first joyful Passing on the Gift in 1999, to Wirnkar Tata to widen the cycle of hope. A Heifer prescription. Wrinkar had also relayed this good will gesture to another struggling family in 2003.

On behalf of Cyprian and his family, the needy and orphans he shares his love with, the youths he as given hope and the developments projected he has initiated and piloted, the village head of Vekovi Fai Waikov had sent Heifer Cameroon these words “I thank you from my heart for giving us the hope that we can succeed after years of frustrations”.

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