History of the Goat Program
Members of the Chapel Communities and HHH formed a Goat Committee to address the purchase, raising, breeding and financial benefits of goat farming. We started by identifying five to seven leaders in each of the four chapel communities. Each leader was then given three female goats with access to a shared breeding male goat, a veterinary technician and education on proper goat management. In return, each leader is required to give six baby goats back to the committee for distribution to other community members, thus increasing the number of members participating, learning and building community with one another. At the present time, the cost of a female goat is about $45 and a large male breeding goat is about $200. It also costs $2,400 for a year of service by the veterinary technician. We are very pleased with the enthusiasm for the program.
There are still challenges, but group members are learning to address problems and concerns by applying their new knowledge of the care and breeding of goats. We now have over 300 goats among the chapels, with many of the goats bred to deliver soon. There is a waiting list of prospective members in each of the four chapel communities of Feja, Desvarieux, Coupe Gorge, and Noyau, which were all under Father Leveque’s direction when our twinning partnership began in 2011. We are seeing members of this program benefit economically.
January 2018 Mission Team Report
It has taken three solid years to grow the Hands and Hearts with Haiti Goat Program to 335 goats, touching the lives of 84 families. HHH began with education, which was a major missing key element, and introduced herd health-care management, co-ops, and the idea of working together. Everyone in the program gives goats back to the program so that additional villagers can participate. Holding monthly meetings and discussing successes and failures has also been a very important factor for success. Many said they thought they knew how to raise goats, but after attending several classes and meetings came away with a lot of new and helpful information which now makes their goats the healthiest ones at market.
One family in the community of Noyau is doing so well with their goats that after they paid back to the committee what was due, they were able to sell three goats and purchase a cow for their family. They can now pay for school tuition, pay for medical expenses when they arise, and feed their family because of their success in the HHH Goat Program!
In the Fall of 2017 HHH started the process of adding a new community, Boyer, into the Goat Program. The villagers have attended weekly educational meetings, taken a test, and home visits were scheduled to see how they will be able to feed, water, and shelter the goats. The next step is to select a few villagers who are the most ready and begin the program with them. When this first group is successfully working together, we will grow the BOYER program by adding more participant families. We met with the villagers in Boyer after a 2 ½ hour mass on Sunday and the people were very excited to be given this opportunity. Brevil, our Haitian Veterinarian Technician, and Jean Maurisset, our Project Coordinator, have been a very important part of our program’s success. Having Haitians working with Haitians on a day to day basis has truly been a blessing for us and them!
Some of the communities were doing better than others and the most obvious issue was that of working together and trusting each other. The Haitians over and over said, “Thank you so much for bringing this program to us.” They were worried that they had nothing to repay us with; we said their stories of success were the best gifts we could ever receive.