In September, 2013, I had the good fortune to visit several of MPA’s projects in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. The one moment that stands out for me is the visit to a family in Masaka, Uganda after they had received their first cow. The family had 7 children and was looking to improve their standard of living.
What touched my heart was their pride in their accomplishments – all the things they had to do in order to receive a cow. The family had to cultivate their land, build an outhouse, provide a way to wash their hands, create a cooking area, as well as build their cow pen near their little one-room home (there are 9 of them!), surrounded by dirt (mud when it rains).
I soon realized how hard the mother had worked to clean up the children so they could meet us. Here is her picture when she did not think we were looking. She looked tired —- I would be too.
But when her husband had his picture taken, demonstrating his “faucet” for washing hands —- the wife did not want to be outdone — and made sure we took her picture too. I knew life was still difficult for them — but they were so proud – so grateful.
I am too grateful for my life but it is a profound revelation to witness how much people can appreciate something as small as a cow and how much it can change their lives. They were insistent on showing us that they could now make butter —- a treat for them indeed.
We can bring joy with the small gift of a living loan this Thanksgiving. A small gift is life-transforming to a family like this. This is how we can make a difference.
The children, of course, were a delight and joyous — and this is my favorite picture of my two-week trip. The children see themselves in the photo on the camera—- but I really hope they see a new and better future. The new family cow was just the start.
– Sandy Bellon