Goats makes me chuckle. Their crazy grins and non-stop noisemaking are a source of amusement for me. But I’ve seen first-hand in Haiti that these silly, awkward-looking animals provide a tremendous value to the very poor. They mean food. Income for medical expenses. Often, a single goat can pay for a year of school tuition. It’s hope with hooves.
Humanitarians at World Concern gives goats to families. Moms and dads often trust the goats’ care to children. Kids with kids, as we say. As an American, I thought of a goat as an unusual pet, but these are no pets. Goats do important work.
Some families drink goats’ milk and make cheese. Goats produce quite a bit of milk every day, often enough for families to sell the surplus in the marketplace.
Other families strictly raise goats to have babies. Once grown, the kids are put up for sale. I thought they might bring around $25 in a village marketplace. But in Haiti, the price of food is high. People are starving in the Haiti food crisis. These goat-keepers are able to make about $50 a goat. In Haiti, that’s a good chunk of an entire month’s income. Very often, that money sends a child to school, giving them a better future.
We’ve heard some tremendous success stories, like the family of that has raised nearly 20 goats over the last decade, allowing the children in the family to go to school. They know how to raise the goats well, and have truly seized on the concept. So it’s no surprise that goats are a hot commodity.
I saw grandmas receiving goats in southern Haiti. This is a country with no social support structure, so when Hurricanes decimated the region last summer, people there have been struggling. The storms killed crops – and animals. These goats were the first livestock they were able to obtain after the storm. There have been some hungry months. The grannies were so happy. A goat may be just livestock to us. For them, it’s a safety net against starvation.