Hope Through Animals

 New pens at the goat projectMy husband and I first visited the Pokot in 2004 on a medical mission trip and have been leading teams each fall ever since. What an amazing journey the Lord has given us – learning about the Pokot culture, their hearts, their needs, and sharing it with new teams each year. I realize now that this is what He had been preparing me for my whole life.

During my veterinary training, He led this suburban girl to pursue mixed animal medicine. He opened the doors for me to work in the summers on both goat and dairy cattle farms, and my first employment as a veterinarian was a practice that specialized in sheep and goat medicine. When I discovered POM had a goat project, I immediately felt called to it.

The Pokot view their livestock very highly. Animals provide meat and milk for the family and serve as currency. Prestige is based on the size of a man’s herd.

The goat project was started approximately 14 years ago as a way to introduce a goat breed that produced more milk and meat into the breeding program to improve upon the small Pokot goats. The people dedicated themselves to its success and benefited from improvements in the community health with a herd that had grown to 200.

We visited the project for the first time in 2009, and were told of its decline. It began when some goats became sick and died, while many were attacked by wild animals through the decaying wooden barn walls. They had no money to purchase medications or rebuild the barns. Water was not available, requiring them to walk half a day to the nearest river bed.

At the time of our visit, there were only about 30 goats left, but the people had not lost hope. They prepared a plan to fulfill their objective to make the project self-sustaining. They thanked us for not forgetting about them. Their faith is an inspiration to me, and I feel greatly blessed that the Lord chose to use me to help in rebuilding the project.

Water in Pokot KenyaGod is amazing, and we have been in awe watching His plan unfold as we visit the site each year. He has given provision to drill a bore-hole for water, to rebuild the barns with steel posts and wire fencing to prevent deterioration, to build a home and latrine for the manager, to provide a manager and have him receive training in animal health care, and to provide the donation of dewormers that has kept the remaining goats healthy.

We were privileged to be able to take part in the project dedication ceremony and hear of the great plans God has put in the hearts of the people for the future of the project. We were very honored that the community appointed us Pokot elders for our ten years of serving the Pokot and our commitment to the goat project . We are excited to see what God has planned for the future of the project and pray that we will be able to continue to play a part in returning it to its original success. Are you called to help others?