Monday, October 15, 2007

First October Update: Desks and Goats

Desks for Schools:

I have given WAACHA a 50% deposit on the 18 desks. They were purchasing wood yesterday in town. According to Hannah, some desks will already be nearly complete (apparently they have over ten students working on them).


1. The Memorandum of Understanding was finally signed!!
2. We delivered the 12 goats to the CRPs on Saturday. I went back the next day with Basil so that he could demonstrate the proper application of the medications the widows can do themselves. I also read the MOU to the groups and Basil translated for both villages to ensure they didn't get two different versions.
3. The widows who were ready all signed with a fingerprint…even the ones who signed in on the attendance sheet with their full name. Maybe fingerprints have more weight in the villages?

The goats were given antibiotics during the delivery to prevent illnesses due to the stress of being moved.

I purchased the first round of routine meds for each village

- Acarcide spray
- Deworm tabs
- Antibiotics
- Spray Pump
- Trypanosomiasis (Tsetse Flies): Purchased 2 Samorin sachets
- Syringes: In each village, because of the way some of the meds are packaged and/or solutions shared, they decided to choose a widow to hold the meds, syringes, etc. Then the others will go to her to retrieve meds to treat their goats. I didn't want to leave them with the CRPs to avoid having them be pressured by other community members to use the meds on other animals. I made it clear that the meds are strictly for the widows' goats.

So I showed up in Bugole to find an oddly comprehensive representation of the community. Many men were present, some members of the local council or various committees. I found all of the widows present. The orphan family was not present. They went to look for the caretaker, but said she went for water.

Only 3 widows were 100% done with their sanitation requirements. All of the widows present, regardless if they were getting their goat that day, participated in Basil's demonstrations. I will send pictures to supplement the videos as soon as I can.
Then, we read the MOU, which took a lot longer than expected. When it came time to discuss how the widows would like to distribute the goats (secret ballot, random selection), the men present had a frustratingly large amount of input. Some of these guys were really getting into the debate as if they were going to receive a goat. The widows mostly kept quiet. They decided that the goat that gave birth would be reserved for the orphan family, despite their absence. Then they decided to number the remaining goats and have the three ready widows select a number randomly.

I insisted that Kapere hold the other goats until the widows are ready. As they finish, I will return to sign the MOUs and then release the goats. I think the widows who weren't ready will hurry now that they see the others with goats. I called him today and he said all but one widow is finished. This meeting took about 2.5 hours. I naively thought it would take one once everything started.


5 of the 6 widows were ready. The one who wasn't ready, just needed a tip-tap, but I put my foot down and insisted that Musai John hold the goat.

The meeting consisted of the entire widow recipient group, Musai John, Basil, and me…that was it. No politicians. The widows were noticeably more participatory and welcoming. Basil even noted that he felt these widows were picking the information much faster, possibly because of no distractions, i.e. big men. Basil is very skeptical towards local politicians as it used to interfere with the effectiveness of his Heifer work before Heifer fixed the problem by requiring surveys to be done and forms to be filled instead of relying on local politicians to identify needy families. The politicians would often choose their own families even though they are not in the most need.

The widows also chose to number the goats and select randomly to avoid any conflict. I mentioned both options to both villages and, specifically for Kiwanyi, referred back to Bugole and how they identified a recipient in particular need and set aside a more valuable goat for them. No one in Kiwanyi seemed to protest the random selection and all of the widows were visibly overjoyed to finally receive their goats. Many finger waves and "ay yeh yeh yeh yeh yeee's!" Where as the Bugole widows were more passive and insisted on throwing out loads of "neyaanzizas," although I got a few from Kiwanyi, I got the vibe that the Kiwanyi widows truly felt like they EARNED their goats a lot more than those of Bugole. I thanked both groups in the same way, emphasizing that we are not just handing out goats, but they worked very hard to earn the goats. When I went on that first house-to-house inspection, they were far behind Bugole with one widow not having a single complete requirement. I was told that the widows came together to help her complete everything, an impressive team effort.


1. Okay…after all of this, they are deporting me.
2. Actually, after spending an entire afternoon at the office (the in-charge of NGOs didn't show up until 1), frantically running back and forth between the photocopier they conveniently have for people to use, at a fee of course, and buying airtime on the street to call SPW for their NGO specific information, I managed to submit my files. The NGO lady told me last time I was there that I needed a photocopy of my police clearance letter from home. So, I got one from SPW, but when I showed up on Monday, she asked for the ORIGINAL for her own accountability in case I forged it! She had me go up to immigration to ask for it because SPW said that they should have it on file from my previous immigration stuff that they worked out. SPW never got us work permits, but instead a special pass and then later an extension. When I went to the immigration window, I was told that no files are ever opened on special passes (do they throw everything out after granting special passes??? No idea!). So, on my fifth walk back to the NGO lady, I told her the news. Then, without a fuss or anything as little as a grunt of disapproval or disbelief, she did a complete 180 to finish off the 360 and consented to accepting the photocopy!
3. So, I was able to submit everything after she made a note on the folder that said my NGO papers are in order. The lady behind the window, the very one who initially sent me to the NGO office, really seemed unhappy to finally accept the folder…as if she thought I would die waiting for the NGO lady's approval. I have to go back in 7 working days to check on the special pass and then from there wait to hear on the work permit….that is my understanding of it anyways.

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