When I was in Uganda two years ago I learned about a program that Call to Africa had just recently started whereby they were delivering a couple in-calf cows to a few different Ugandans that they knew could really benefit from the milk production as well as the opportunity to use the new calf to pay it forward or provide future, ongoing reproduction. I was really impressed by this self-sustain idea and coined it the #cowproject. I explain more about this in my original blog post about the cow project here.
The story gained some international attention which resulted in many of YOU folks giving toward more cows. I went out on the road about a year later on a Great Lakes trip to raise money for 1 cow. The generosity of my friends and readers led to several cows being delivered last year during a trip that I was, quite sadly, not able to go on due to some serious health issues I was having at the time. But, my friend Alicia Ellis was able to go with a new CTA team, and she was able to work with Joseph to deliver all of the cows, each going to a different location across the magnificent Ugandan countryside.
Because the cows are scattered across Uganda, I was not able to follow up with all of them on this trip where we are doing all of our work in Eastern Uganda only. So far to go, so little time! However, I did cover the story of one Cow Project cow here in a previous blog post. And….I had the awesome privilege of shooting the delivery of a new in-calf cow to a Christian pastor and his family in the village of Mbeko. I can tell you from first-hand experience that Reuben and his sweet wife and their 5 children are extremely grateful for the generosity. Reuben and his wife are generous folks themselves, even though they have so little. They will be able to use the milk that comes in due time for not only their family but also for others in their village.
During the delivery of the cow to her new home, Joseph and Samuel, both veterinarians, were able to provide Reuben with a care kit of essential supplies to keep the cow healthy, especially as she delivers a new calf in about 3 months’ time. The care kit, the in-calf cow, and the pickup/delivery costs are included in the cow project price for a single cow. On behalf of Reuben and his family, I want to thank all of you for your generosity as the Cow Project continues to bless people in Uganda and creates an opportunity to teach people about farm animal management and self-sustaining capabilities.
It was truly a pleasure to see Papa Joseph again (the name my daughter, Halla, gave him when she was here with me two years ago). Joseph is such a kind and generous man, sharing his extensive knowledge freely. He traveled some distance from his village of Mbarara on the western side of Uganda to come to us here in Jinja area to shop for and select the best cows and arrange the deliveries and care kits. He does so much!
It is important that you understand we mzungus (white people) cannot be a part of the actual shopping for or buying of cows and supplies as the prices will automatically double (or more!) when mzungus become involved in a business transaction. Mzungus are “rich,” you see. At least by Ugandan standards. And they are also willing (and maybe ignorant enough) to pay the outrageously escalated prices. CTA relies heavily on some trusted and savvy Ugandan men to arrange these transactions to get the best prices possible as well as the best selections. We could not do what we do without them!
On the trip to deliver this particular cow it was my first time meeting Samuel. I am so impressed with this young man! And I want all of you to know, to really get this…..Samuel is a perfect example of what CAN result when a good education is available in Uganda as I had hoped to convey in my earlier post “When the Numbers Don’t Add Up.”
Samuel was a student at Good Shepherd school during his earlier years. After completing his education there, he went on to secondary school or high school and then on to college, ultimately graduating from veterinary school. His education was sponsored by a generous man in the US who paid the tuition that Samuel’s family could not pay when his father died. I can assure you he is putting that education to good use! And because he lives nearby to the village of Mbeko where this particular cow is now living, he will be able to check in and provide on-going vet care as needed. He volunteered his time to come with us and begin the initial process of educating Reuben on cow care for the coming months.
Samuel is just one example of many who are using their education to give back to their fellow countrymen, and, one by one, are making a difference that will become more evident in generations to come. I am excited to be some small part of this, even if it is by simply taking photos.
Thank you, again, to all who have so kindly given toward the Cow Project. It is making a difference. I have seen the tears flow from eyes filled with extreme gratitude.
PS. Two more cows will be delivered in the coming days. One of them is going to Dbembe Orphanage which I will tell you about in an upcoming post.