Saturday, May 3, 2014

In Gratitude for Your Service Here is a Chicken - Pay it Forward

This may sound crazy, but today I was offered a special gift of gratitude from Tsuma, one of the villagers that I was working with... a chicken. To paraphrase a common high school phrase "This is a third world gift" I felt honored that he would value my services so highly. 
Tsuma on the right and some of his group members at the community garden.
These villagers are very poor and have almost nothing. Their homes are made of sticks and mud with dried grass for the roof. They cook over open fires and have no bathroom facilities. They are a generous people. To give one of their chickens is a fortune. It provides the only source of animal protein that the family gets. I felt very honored that they appreciated my teaching so much.

Not wanting to offend him or try and take a chicken on the plane with me, I had the idea come to me to have him pay it forward. I asked him to choose another person in the village, give them the chicken in my name, and then train them on proper care of the chicken. I told him that when I returned, he could introduce me to the person and I could see how the chicken and his teaching had changed their life.
... Another one for the list of things that I would never have imagined myself doing. 
Here is a picture of this great man showing off his bee hive to me
Tsuma is a great example of someone that has started with very little, but is learning, taking chances, and improving his life and the lives of those in his village. This month he will be featured in a Farm Field Day in his village. Feed the World, the local government extension program and other Non Government Organizations (NGOs) are sponsoring the Farm Filed Day to teach villagers in the neighboring area how to improve their lives by producing their own food. It may seem simple and basic to us, but it is the difference between life and death to them. 
If you would like to help Tsuma and others like him, go to feedtheworld.org and look for ways that you can help.

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