by Bill Fitzgerald
"You can't lift a rock with just one finger."
Those words were from an unschooled community leader of the Landaya Women Farmers Association in Koromasilaya Community in the Koinadugu District of Sierra Leone. They came after we were welcomed with singing and dancing, and before we were sent off with handshakes and hugs...and more singing and dancing.

This group, along with two others, has only been in existence for about six months, yet they already know the 12 Cornerstones better than most. The groups were from different villages, spoke different dialects and did not know each other before bonding together to learn how to feed their families better the Heifer way. Yet, through learning the 12 Cornerstones that Heifer teaches all project participants, they came together to realize that they could do much more, much better, if they worked together. A single finger can't pick up a rock, but 10 (or 12) can, easily.

Malnutrition among the group's children was visible. Their usually jet-black hair was discolored brownish-yellow and their bellies were distended. But they waited patiently as the women and men gave their reports and then took us on a tour of the still-under-construction goat sheds. The groups have been training for months now, and our trip missed the arrival of their healthy new Heifer goats by just one week. I can only imagine the singing and dancing and clapping at that gathering.


Bill Fitzgerald is Heifer International's creative director. You can read his previous posts about project visits in Sierra Leone here.

Author

Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.