Celebrating Passing on the Gift® at Concepción de María: In early October 2013, the small village of Concepción de María, nestled in the mountain crevices of Honduras, bustled with activity. More than 60 families were gathered at the corner of the local soccer field to celebrate another round of Passing on the Gift®. The crew gathered included leaders of the local community, Heifer partners and staff, and joyous family members ready to pass on gifts of calves and chickens. With the lime green mountains acting as the backdrop and silent witness, one-by-one, families took center stage and passed on the same kinds of gifts they had received two years before.
Local resident and Heifer farmer Bartolo Zepeda chatted about the young calf he was going to gift to María Isaura Hernández, a single mother who lives in his community. His message to her: “I have cared well for this calf and I hope you will do likewise. I am happy to be passing on my gift to a single mother.” To sweeten the deal, Bartolo added a pound of treated salt and grass seedlings to plant and grow fodder to feed the calf. He even offered María a small plot of land for growing the grass.
On that joyful day, 17 families received calves and 21 families brought home chickens. Some had walked from distant communities, and their excitement could be felt in the air. “We had never received something like this, not ever,” Bartolo said. “My family’s life has changed since we were passed our gift. My daughter will grow up well nourished. I milk the cow daily so she has fresh milk each day. My family’s budget improved as well, because my wife began making cuajada, or cottage cheese, and selling it. That brings in more money each month that we didn’t have before.”
While Bartolo passed María her gift of a calf, Olga Marina Alvarez passed a calf to Fredyvinda Castillo, Lucrecio Munguía passed a calf to Jacoba Zepeda, Norma Lopez passed a calf to Servín Sánchez, and on and on and on. These families are all part of the Project Planting Seeds of Hope project through Heifer Honduras. It was truly a happy occasion for both the recipients and those who were Passing on the Gift. As is tradition in the small towns of Honduras, a group of teenage boys and girls from the town’s high school danced to folk music. Dressed in colorful, native costumes, they were the highlight of the event.
Heifer has been working in Honduras for 35 years. Since 1978, it has empowered more than 6,000 rural families in poor, isolated communities to improve their livelihoods. Heifer projects in Honduras work to diversify agricultural production, promote the use of better farming practices, strengthen grassroots organizations and foster gender equity.
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