||Madam Faustina Akinesia’s female donkey has had two baby donkeys. (Contributed photo)
Our Diocesan Global Solidarity Partnership (GOOP) with the Catholic Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga (N-B), Ghana, Africa, is nearing its 10-year anniversary and seven years into its Donkey Project.
This Christmas we received a card from N-B that said, “We are seeing progress, Thank you partners.”
This is good news as on our first visit to N-B, time appeared to have stopped around the year 1900. The people living there had homes made of mud with no doors, windows, or electricity. The farmers were still cultivating and harvesting their crops with simple hand tools and their children were hungry.
With the help of our donkeys, plows, and carts, they now report that notable progress is being made.
More children are attending schools while the donkeys work in the field in place of them. Fewer physical injuries are incurred as the donkeys take on the hard labor.
Using the donkey cart to carry building materials or water produces additional income. Larger fields yield greater harvests that reduce hunger.
With this progress we thank God for this opportunity to give and ample reason to continue our efforts.
The successes at the Donkey Farm will continue with each new baby donkey, because at maturity these donkeys will be given to poor women farmers. Even though several miscarriages have occurred, by spring there should be 14 foals at the Donkey Farm . . . and the progress continues.
Some success stories from women who received donkeys are:
• Madam Faustina Akinesia from the village of Gowrie Tengler received a female donkey in 2005. In the succeeding years her donkey had two baby donkeys. She uses her donkeys to farm and carry crops home from her farm and to the Bogartian market. Sometimes the cart is used for carting gravel for construction and renting to other neighbors.
The donkeys significantly reduced hours of arduous work while enabling cultivation of more farm plots. She doubled her cultivation plots providing more of the family’s basic needs and to pay for veterinary services when the animals are sick.
• Madam Anna Baazei, a recipient of a male donkey, is from Katiu in the Chiana Parish. Using her donkey and cart for a fee she has been able to provide for her children’s education and basic needs. With the help of her donkey she is molding blocks for income. She will use this income to purchase a female donkey to breed for additional baby donkeys.
• Martina Apibil lives in Kobore with her aged husband, a catechist. When she received a donkey and accessories, it changed the future of her family as their entire household now has a reliable and sustained income source. The donkey is used to plow her family field as well as to support other less fortunate people in the community. The donkey is also used to render services to other members of the community for income.
Our hope is that with these pictures and stories we have explained how donkeys, plows, and carts play a huge role in reducing the hardships endured in a diocese where harsh weather exists and where hand hoes are the only implements available to farm their fields.
On behalf of recipients of the donkeys, our thanks goes to the children who raise money to buy donkeys, to the Councils of Catholic Women who sell Divine Chocolate every year, and to the individual donors who provide progress and hope to the poor women farmers of N-B.
More information can be found at the Web site of the Diocese of Madison at: http://www.madisondiocese.org/GlobalSolidarity
Clarence Mougin is the diocesan coordinator for the Global Solidarity Partnership Committee in the Diocese of Madison.