This is only the beginning of our second day in Malawi, and we have no idea what they have in store for us next. It turns out to be a visit to a very small farm that consists of 3 cows and another bunch of unbelievably cute Malawi children. Have you ever seen the World Vision gift catalog that comes in the newspaper? As part of their fall campaign the catalog was included in the Ottawa Citizen as well as the Brockville Recorder and Times. If you didn’t see it this is a catalog that allows you to purchase things for families in places like Africa and other locations throughout the world such as goats, chickens, cows and other things that allow a poor family (most families are poor here) to derive an income from cow’s milk, eggs, etc. (you can look at the catalog here – https://catalogue.worldvision.ca/gifts/Forms/Home.aspx?mc=4128930&lang=en).
Anyway, this morning’s visit was to a small farm that received cows (at least one) through this program. This photo shows the modest facilities for the cows – actually, out of all of the animals I have seen so far including pigs, cows and bulls, chickens, donkeys, guinea fowl, goats, dogs, etc., this is the very first enclosure I have seen. All animals seem to roam free, including on the sides of, and sometimes on the highway.
This is the owner of the farm with a couple of his kids and his wife obscured in the background, giving us a brief presentation on what it has meant to his family to receive this gift of the cow(s) through the World Vision sponsorship program. In every scenario and place we visit, the kids are a major part and always find a way to be involved. The one in the middle is a little rascal, and really cute.
This is the herd at feeding time. A two cow operation may not seem like a lot by our standards, but the farmer told us that he now has a constant supply of milk, and he has never run out of food for his family because he sells the excess milk and therefore generates an income from it. This is a perfect example of World Visions philosophy of giving a hand up not a hand out. He also showed us a calf that one of these cows recently gave birth to, so this kind of a gift from World Vision gives a lot more than just a cow, it really gives them a livelihood that allows them to sustain themselves.
This woman is cutting grass with a machete to feed the cows. It doesn’t look like grass, but I asked and that’s what I was told.
They needed a volunteer to milk the cow so I stepped up to the challenge!
Here we are having fun taking pictures and interacting with the children, which is more amazing than I could ever hope to describe. This little guy was always in the middle of things during the entire visit, he is saying something to me, the translator tells me that he is asking if I will come back.