Photos and video by Geoff Oliver Bugbee
CEO Pierre Ferrari's visit to the Pooja Swavalambhi Womens Group in the community of Bashpitti, Nepal, ended on a bright note as flickering candles and a Heifer SUV's car lights illuminated the gathering of 21 members of the group in an open schoolroom at the end of a project visit.
Ferrari's first field visit to Heifer programs in Nepal started with a morning of thick clouds, steady rain and rumbling thunder. The weather delayed by four hours a Buddha Air flight to take Ferrari and a group of Heifer staffers to the Janakpur airport in the southeast part of the country. Through the afternoon, participants in this 3-year-old buffalo and goat project shared their successes (income and better nutrition from milk) and challenges (a house fire that injured a buffalo). The determined voices of the women echoed out into the darkening night in the end of day meeting, children and husbands listening from the shadows.
"When we were gathered with the whole community, the women of the Pooja women's group started talking and describing their experience of the change in their lives, which is pretty radical," Ferrari said. "It suddenly all came together and was a very powerful experience."