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Photo by Jake Lyell, courtesy of Heifer International. Father's DayPhoto by Jake Lyell, courtesy of Heifer International.

From the first time I heard the story of Augustin and Abigail Njita, I was intrigued. This young couple is part of a Heifer International biogas project in Cameroon, and I have long had a fascination with this clever technology that enables farmers to capture the methane produced by livestock manure. In many of the remote places where Heifer works, people do not have access to the energy sources the developed world takes for granted, and biogas provides a way for these enterprising people to cook, light their homes, and even run small generators.

But when I looked more closely, I realized this is also a story about a dad who is working hard to make a better life for his family. While Augustin takes us on a tour of his small biogas plant, we get to meet his wife, Abigail, and the youngest of their five children.

In my opinion, the best part of the video comes when Augustin tells us just how much his family’s situation has improved since they started to work with Heifer. “The way were living was so difficult…life was so tough to us…[our children] were about to go to school, and their needs were bringing some serious worries,” he says. “Thank God that when we engaged with [Heifer], that’s where there was a miracle...”

When this video was made in April 2011, my daughter was just a couple of weeks old, and as a new dad I was looking at the world in a new way. I was beginning to think about the awesome responsibility I had to provide for a family, and I thought about the fact that many dads in the world lack the resources with which I had been blessed.

Although we’ve never met, I now feel a connection to Augustin — we both want to make the best possible lives for our families and give our children hope and opportunities for a brighter future. Later in the video, Augustin talks about his plans to enlarge his pasture and grow his heard to nine cows by 2014. I find his ambition and optimism inspirational.

This Father’s Day, you can help Heifer provide the same kind of opportunities to fathers around the world by giving your dad or loved one a different kind of gift. Instead of another tie, gift card, or gadget, please consider a Heifer gift that will help change the lives of families like Augustin’s.


Casey Neese