9.23.2012

It Takes A Village

No, this is not just another lemonade story. This is a story about two girls, two villages, and a goat (or at least the idea of one) that links them all. Beatrice is a girl from the village of Kisinga in western Uganda. Janie Kathryn and I read about her in preparation for a visit to the Heifer Village in Little Rock. We learned that Beatrice's life was changed forever by the gift of a goat named Mugisa. You see, Beatrice's family was one of a dozen families in Kisinga to receive a goat from Heifer International, a non-profit organization whose mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. After reading about Beatrice, Janie Kathryn and I visited the Heifer Village to learn more about how the organization works.

Through gifts of livestock and training, Heifer helps families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways. In exchange for their livestock and training, families agree to give one of its animal's offspring to another family in need.
After our trip I reflected on Heifer's truth about food- "There is more than enough food to feed every human being on our planet at this moment. Hunger isn't about the scarcity of food or overpopulation. It's about limited access to food and the resources, like money, necessary to obtain it." Janie Kathryn, on the other hand... Well, there was no reflection. It was full steam ahead and "Let's sell lemonade to buy a goat like Mugisa for another girl like Beatrice!" And so, we did.

We invited our village of friends and on the first day of fall we once again set up the lemonade stand, this time to raise money to buy a goat for an unknown village in another part of our world. We asked for $1 donations for each cup of lemonade. Cup after cup, Janie Kathryn poured and I reminded her to tell our customers about Heifer International and the goat we hoped to buy. We went through 40-50 cups of lemonade and lots of pumpkin muffins, cookies, and chocolate-covered marshmallows and we raised enough money to buy two goats. You do the math. We live in a VERY generous village and I feel VERY fortunate that friends, family, and total strangers were so eager to support the efforts of my little dreamer. One of our customers stopped me and commented, "what a wonderful thing you're doing to teach your daughter this lesson." However, I think it is my daughter that is teaching me the lesson. I just make the lemonade.

I haven't told Janie Kathryn yet, but I researched Beatrice to see what had become of her. We read in the book that she was able to use money from the sales of her goat's milk to go to school in Uganda. As it turns out she was awarded several scholarships and eventually traveled to the US to attend Connecticut College and graduate school at The Clinton School for Public Service in Little Rock. Beatrice is currently working for Heifer International. I think we just might reach out to her and I'm sure I know what Janie Kathryn will say.
Where is Mugisa?

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