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Monday, October 05, 2009

the promise of protein

Ever since John wisely roped Jack and Julia into helping with the chicken project here and there, Jack has been hooked. As one of the youngest missionaries on our team, it is not easy to find a niche that you are uniquely gifted for (fast, strong, and not afraid of getting dirty), and that most other people don't particularly want to do (intimate contact with messy birds). So for Jack, it is chick-catching. Every few weeks the new chicks have to be vaccinated, which involves grabbing them one at a time, 300 flustery squawking pecking mini-chickens, handing them to Pauline who immunizes them, then separating them from the others, until each has been dosed. This evening the chicks are five weeks old and getting their third round. Jack and Scott Will assisted Pauline, bare bleach-cleaned feet in the mud and wattle coop as the nervous chicks swirled around their ankles, and the calm Pauline directed the operation.
We celebrate the so-far-100% survival rate, no small thing. These chickens will eventually lay the eggs that will sustain many malnourished children at the health center, and boost the nutrition of AIDS-affected families. It was Stephanie's vision and Pauline's persistence, former intern Jenn Butz's grant, and lots of other people in between, but the project continues, and Jack is proud to participate. This afternoon we had our BundiNutrition meeting. Lammech reported on the 92 goats distributed so far in 2009, with 20 more to go soon. Amazingly we now are able to purchase the majority locally, because of breeding programs initiated via the Matiti branch of BundiNutrition (which means that the goat-donation money not only benefits a new motherless or HIV-infected child's family, but also a former family who now is able to breed and sell goats from the one they received, so all the funding stays within the district!). Lammech and John share a vision for expanding the general upgrade of Bundibugyo goat genetics, so that hundreds, even thousands, of kids could drink milk instead of just the most severely malnourished. We talked about the record-keeping and breeding, and how a fourth extension worker could be an asset to this vision. Baguma Charles talked about the BBB program, and other needy areas of the district where the local production and provision of supplemental protein could make an impact. Pauline, Lammmech, and Baguma Charles are all great gifts to this work, people of skill and integrity that invest their lives here with us.
Monday's promise of protein, from the new admission of yet another malnourished baby at the hospital in the morning, to the lofty long view of program planning and funding in the afternoon, to the scratch-in-the-dirt reality of the chicken coop in the evening.


Barbara Elwood said...

Good work Jack! Peter has raised 35 chicks but never 300. What a wonderful project to help the community.

Barbara Elwood said...
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