I am sitting outside the Nzoroko hotel, listening to the birds sing, enjoying the breeze now that the sun is low. It is hot and unusually humid; even the Tanzanians are sweating.
Today we visited Masandare, which is a small sprawling village. We have 10 goat farms in the area, and we visited most of them today. Most of the goats are healthy and the farms are growing. They have discovered that they cannot get goats that were raised in the Mountains or in Arusha because the goats do not adjust to the heat and so get sick. Kid goats seem to adjust better. This area is extremely dry and they have to walk 15 kilometers to the river’s edge find grasses to harvest for the goats. And of course after cutting grasses, they have to bring them back 15 km. Often they have a donkey to carry the load.
Our integrated farming project has provided these 10 farm families with education on how to raise these special milk goats, how to breed them, how to house them. Once each farmer has completed the training and built their pen they are given 2 females. The 10 farmers are given 4 bucks to share. They said that three of their native goats together produce about enough milk daily to make a cup of chai and their new goats each produce 2 liters a day if not pregnant or nursing. That’s quite an improvement! After their goats have babies, they give one weaned goat back to the program to support trainings, and one goat to a new farmer. The farmers say their children are healthier with milk to drink, the the extra they sell to neighbors. They use their money to buy school supplies or food.
We also visited the weather station office to request data on monthly rainfall amounts in our farming villages. Water is a huge issue here and we are discussing the feasibility of rainwater catchment systems. Knowledge is power.
Time for a bowl of soup and then off to bed. Thanks for following our progress!
(email received about 2pm – Friday, March 10, 2017)