Under clear blue skies and a scorching sun, the typical day in southern Honduras, the small rural village of Concepción de Maria came alive to celebrate another round of Passing on the Gift® in early December. With the smell of fresh tamales and atol (a traditional corn dessert) wafting through the air and a two-man keyboard and accordion band playing, more than a hundred village members, as well as Heifer staff and local representatives, came together to celebrate this joyous day. Family members rounded up their calves and chickens and eagerly awaited one of the most important moments for a Heifer beneficiary: the moment when a family gets to pass on the same resources they received to another family in the village.
Local resident Belsy Piñeda spoke about the significance of the day, “In December last year, I received a flock of hens, and today we are going to give the offspring to another family so that they can also benefit. This project is very important because it has helped to improve the food security of the children in the village, and today is about helping other families in need.”
With smiling onlookers and applause ringing out, village members signed documents confirming their commitment to Passing On the Gift. One by one, entire families, some gingerly holding young chickens and others guiding calves to the main staging area, lovingly handed over the animals to another family. On this festive day, 15 families received chickens and five families received a calf. Family members shook hands, hugged, and shared words of thanks as they took part in the official passing on the gift ceremony.
Shortly before handing over his calf, one local resident, Tranquilino Aplicano, spoke about the impact his cow has had on his family and his excitment for sharing its offspring, “Today we are celebrating a very special day where we will pass on our gifts to other families. I am going to pass on a calf to my fellow village member, Mariano Zepeda. The idea is that the project won’t stop and it will duplicate the benefits for more families. My cow has given me a lot of milk, which has helped contribute to better living conditions for my family. We believe that this is an excellent project because it helps people to produce more food for their families. Our commitment has been to pass on our gift, and today that is exactly what we are going to do.”
Indeed, shortly after, Tranquilino handed over the reins of a beautiful tan-colored calf to a smiling Mariano, he shared, “This cow is a great benefit for my family. It is a great help and from now on, my children won’t miss out on having enough to eat."
All of these families are part of the Heifer Honduras project Planting Seeds of Hope, which seeks to help rural villages diversify their agricultural production and to strengthen local organizations working in community development projects. To date, Planting Seeds of Hope has benefited 103 communities with 257 cows, 8,499 birds, and 64 beehives. These gifts have benefited a total of 1,068 families directly, while Passing On the Gift has allowed another 658 families to enjoy these resources.
Story submitted by Christina Hirsch