Pemba Women’s Goat Project by Jim Taylor
A project designed for abandoned mothers and widows with children.
The ladies arrive in two’s and three’s… walking in from the village. We begin the classes at 8 AM .. supposedly .. but many do not arrive until quite some time later. None have watches. Some walk for 45 minutes one way and often there are things that delay. Time does not have the same meaning here as it does in the west.
All of them have hard lives. They live under conditions we from the west find hard to imagine. They are not “poor” in the sense that they are no worse off than most of the community they live in. All have seen death of loved ones from starvation, malaria, cholera, HIV or any number of other diseases.
When they gather in the hut at our house they visit with one another. We serve them juice and a bread roll. We also encourage them to drink water. It is one thing that many do not get enough of. They chatter happily with each other, eating their bread. Soon one lady will lead out in a song and they all harmonize, singing worship songs to the Lord. During some songs a few of the ladies will get up and dance. It is fun to watch the transformation from “hot and tired” to “joyful”.
Usually toward the last of their singing – which will last from ten to twenty minutes – the songs become slower, more worshipful, and often the presence of the Spirit of God is almost tangible. At the last song all will begin to pray. They will all pray for quite some time, asking God for help with problems, praying for the Mission and the Missionaries, for their families etc. As the prayers die down one will lead out .. “finishing” the praying as it were. When all say “Amen” they then clap their hands. It is time for class to begin.
I wish you could join us and experience it.
People with nothing – by our standards – yet full of happiness and joy. Not griping and complaining but joyful in what they have and what comes their way. We can learn a lot from them.
Our classes are teaching them:
— sanitation, nuitrition and disease prevention
— budegting, saving and starting a small business
— goat care and management
The class is one year in length. At the end of the class each lady will be given a goat. It is our hope that by that time they will understand that if they do not sell the goat or eat the goat, they can use it like a bank. Within three years they will have goats to sell or they can be selling goat meat.
Our goal is to help improve their lives and give them a chance they would never have otherwise.
Thank you for praying for us!