While most humans and animals alike huddled in their homes for warmth this January, six volunteers from the United States traveled to Honduras with SHI's Smaller World Tours program to sponsor our first Dairy Goat Workshop. The volunteers joined our SHI-Honduras field staff and eight families from Barrio Abajo in building a goat shelter, corral and five acre pasture fence.
The workshop was led by Medardo Fuentes, formerly of Heifer International Honduras, with the assistance of SHI-Panama Field Trainer, Diomedes Arrocha, and SHI- Honduras Yoro Regional Coordinator, Selvin Martinez. Workshop themes included basic goat care, nutrition, deworming and milking. Special emphasis was made on using organic, local resources, such as scrap wood for fence posts and native leguminous plants as dietary supplements. All volunteers had ample opportunity to nuzzle the nervous new arrivals, too.
“Being united in a goal is very special, and that’s why I know this project will succeed,” offered Don Rosendo Pereira, one of the Dairy Goat Workshop members. Don Rosendo and his wife, Felipa Mejia, hosted the workshop on their property and are providing over three acres of pasture land to the new herd of dairy goats, which is soon expected to increase in number. Currently there is one pure Alpine male - an excellent dairy breed - and eleven females of mixed breeds, which are better suited to the mountain climate. Crossing the males and females will create a herd that is well-adapted to the local climate and produces high-quality milk.
Using funds from subsequent Smaller World volunteer groups, a cheese production facility was constructed at SHI-Honduras’ Yoro training center, which has easy access to the main highway. There are plans in the coming months to plant pasture grasses on the property for feed during drier months, living fenceposts along the perimeter, a “nursery” area for the young and improved milking stands. “The most memorable part of the trip was meeting the members of the Dairy Goat collective group,” said workshop participant Tye Hunter admiringly. “I was just amazed by their intelligence, fortitude and hard work. I’m very excited about the future of their project.” The Hunter family generously donated funds toward a second group of volunteers working with the dairy goat project next year.
The workshop culminated with a ceremony, during which each of the Smaller World volunteers bestowed a name on his/her goat. Two cheeses produced by the group were passed around for sampling, along with a cake. The forested peak of Pijol presided above the newly enclosed pasture as hugs and handshakes were shared among the diverse group.
Photo Left: SW participant Ladnor, Honduran Country Director Yovany and their goat "Angeline."
Want to see even more photos of this Dairy Goat Workshop? Visit the Flickr set!