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Written by Marleen New, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations

Today we attended the placement ceremony of 42 draft cattle in the Kaunga Cooperative in the Masaiti region. Once again we were amazed when we arrived to see several hundred people had gathered to witness the occasion. Considering the distance between each family homestead, it was mind-boggling to imagine how far some had come to be a part of the celebration—and all on foot!

One of the more entertaining segments of the day was a skit put on by the Kayumba Women’s Group. Even though the dialogue was in Bemba, we were able to follow along easily as they acted out how their community group had formed in spite of the reservations and complaints from the members’ husbands. It was fun to see—no matter what the culture, income level or language—the interaction between husband and wife is the pretty much the same all over the world. 

In spite of the objections by these men, their wives prevailed and were able to form their group, get their application approved by Heifer, receive training, prepare for their animals and are realizing their dreams. They didn’t pass up the opportunity to poke fun at their husbands, though, and seemed to say, “See how wrong you were?!” as the crowd roared with laughter. I have to say, their husbands took it very well, laughed along with us and seemed very proud of their wives' accomplishments.

James Kasongo, Heifer Zambia Country Director

The Heifer Zambia staff have also impressed us all this week with their knowledge, camaraderie, enthusiasm and passion for their work. As James Kasongo, Heifer Zambia Country Director, addressed the crowd, it was easy to see how inspiring a team comes naturally to him. “The seed that you have planted in partnership will mature and truly change the lives of our countrymen, pulling them out of poverty and bringing them to a life of hope. We will fly high like the eagle on our national flag,” Kasongo said in thanking Elanco Animal Health (Heifer’s partner and financial supporter of the projects).
 The community group brought the gift of a chicken to Elanco representatives Dawie Pretorius and Marta Haley

The families sent us off with their own version of this message in a song: “Elanco is the walking stick. I will be able to stand taller and move forward with this stick. Even if I am a widow I can stand with this stick!”

What a week it has been. Lelo Bwacha!


Annie Bergman

Annie Bergman is a Global Communications Manager and helps plan, assign and develop content for the nonprofit’s website, magazine and blog. Bergman has interviewed survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, beekeepers in Honduras, women’s groups in India and war widows in Kosovo, among many others in her six years at Heifer.