It is hard to be away from the ranch at this time, but then, it is ALWAYS hard to tear ourselves away from home! Right now though, we are expecting new kids 🐐to arrive, so leaving for necessary R&R was a hard decision! We travelled to a small South African coastal town, Port Alfred, for a short break. 🇿🇦
Back on the ranch in Zimbabwe, mamas with big tummies are waddling around preparing to surprise us with a delivery or two! Already this birthing time we have been presented with 11 babies! In that number are included twins by our half Kalahari doe. Bruce is the father, so we are getting closer to breeding pure Kalahari Red goats. The twins, Henri and Mercy are also amongst the 11 and are a good size. We anticipate they will be fine specimens when they are full-grown.
Before we left there were two mamas, Marci and Demmy, who were obviously so close to delivery. We were sure they would deliver before we left and so we visited them regularly, day and night, to see how they were doing and begging them to birth before we left. The last thing we did before getting into the car on the day we left, was to check on them once more – but nothing. We were eager to meet these babies as they would be Fred’s first babies to be born since his arrival on the farm in March of this year. No sooner did we arrive in town (a 90 minute drive) than I received a text saying BOTH of them had given birth! 🤦🏻♀️ Marci produced a whopping 8 pound doeling and Demmy presented us with a set of twins; a buckling weighing in at 6 ½ pounds and a girl at 6 pounds. Well done Fred and mums! This will hopefully be the start of the milking herd. In a little more than a year these two girls should be producing their own babies and therefore milk.
These new babies and a few others are still waiting for names or sponsors. If you want to attach yourselves to a goat, contact us to see how you can follow your goat into the Matobo Hills! It’s a great cause!
Let me introduce you to a few of our babies:
Main picture: some of the kids with their favorite dog, Aunty Pippa.
Top right: Glenda (no sponsor yet). She is the daughter of Pixie, who we thought may never have kids, as her mum was malnourished when she arrived with us and Pixie was a very small baby. Although Glenda is also small, she is a tough little girl
Middle right: Fred’s twins. No names or sponsors yet.
Bottom right: (Orphan) Annie. Her mum walked away from her at birth and after a worrying 12 hours of intensive care, another doe whose baby had died at birth, adopted Annie. She is cute as a button and springs everywhere! She is looking for a sponsor. 😍
Bottom left: Miles, a tough little chap.
Bottom middle: Henri and Mercy sharing a snack with granny Sheila.
A number of does who are due to deliver soon are first timers. It is good to be close by to help if necessary, although our assistance is seldom needed! 👩🏽⚕️
Chipo, who we reported had received her three does in the last Newsletter, announced to us that two of her does had birthed and were doing well.
Last month we delivered to two further beneficiaries: Easy received Tess, Cocoa and Hobo, while Jabulani received Marty McFly, Toot Toot and Mango.
Jabulani had a smile from ear to ear when he visited us, a few weeks after receiving his does, to tell us that they had all birthed and he now had eight goats! In just over a month his herd more than doubled! 😃
Jabulani’s story is a sad one. He was (illegally) working in South Africa (like many Zimbabweans) and was unfortunate enough to get caught up in a gun fight. He was shot in the thigh and one of the bones was shattered. The doctors had to insert a pin to hold the bone together. He made his way back home to Zimbabwe, how I cannot even imagine, without a passport. When he arrived back at his mother’s home close to us, they had no money for medical attention, and until we were lucky enough to meet him, he was lying in bed getting weaker and weaker.
He has now been visiting the doctor in town and, after numerous x-rays, it would appear that the bone is starting to heal, but he needs to have the pin removed by the hospital that did the original insertion. This is yet another challenge for Jabulani, who will need to find his way to South Africa again. We will attempt to help him as much as we can. The main challenge will be to get an emergency travel document, although in Zimbabwe that could be a MAJOR challenge as the issuing offices claim they have a backlog of several years as they have no paper in stock for passports! 😳The other challenge will be the costs that will be involved in getting a travel document, the transport and the operation itself. As few people in Zimbabwe have medical insurance, relying on local semi-free clinics to assist them, he will have to fund himself. Keep him in your prayers. 🙏🏼
As we entered our second year of our partnership with AFCA and the goat project (we had a herd of around 50 goats at that time with some does pregnant), I remember Tanya asking if we wanted to expand the herd. Our reply was ‘not yet, let us get established with this number first, we still have a lot to learn.’ Well, we are into our third year and like it or not our herd has expanded to just under 100! We are STILL learning and STILL have a lot to learn, but it has been a fun time with some heartaches along the way, but so many more highs than lows.
Meeting the folks who join AFCA’s visiting teams has been a definite high, making friends that often feel like family by the time they leave. Sharing what we are doing with the teams and their enthusiasm refreshes us for the harder days we face.
Right now, our major concern is the drought and the scarcity of water in our region.
One of the challenges we had to face with a larger herd was staffing. We needed to employ another man for the goat team and asked Keith to join us. He lives on the border of the ranch and is the son of a lady, Emma, who we often ask to help in the camp when we have visiting teams with us.
Talking of additional helpers, we had a young man spend a few days with us and he asked if there was something he could do to help us. NEVER do you ask me that question unless you seriously want to help! Micah Witherow sat for several days updating the goat records, from the simplest of data collection to the more ‘interesting’ activity of creating new records following buck and doe progeny. LOTS of work! He did a great job as I had not been able to fully update the records since the start of our teams arriving in June. Thanks Micah! 👏🏽
Thanks for taking the time to share our triumphs and challenges. Please keep us in your prayers and thoughts as we struggle through this dry time towards the hope of early rains.🌧
Finally, I read this today and felt there is a lot of truth in it, so I share it with you:
A great thinker was asked, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ He replied, ‘Life itself has no meaning, it is an opportunity to create a meaning.’
Be strong, be kind and create meaning in your life! 🌻
If you are a praying person, here are some of the items we would love for you to join us in prayer: 🙏🏼
Safe deliveries for our pregnant does, in the home herd and in their new homes with beneficiaries
Sponsors for our new babies
Funding for medical treatment for Jabulani
Rain to relieve the dreadful drought we are experiencing
Growth of healthy herds for all our beneficiaries
Until the next update...👋🏽