When you argue against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on.
— C.S Lewis, Mere Christianity
Going into my sixth week at Suubi, I was armed and ready with a list of tasks that I wanted to accomplish. Instead, God laughed at me and had something totally different in mind.
On my first day at the farm, Patrick told me three things happen on the farm: life, death and production. And I’m here to report that all three of these things happened at Suubi last week.
Life constantly flourishes on the farm. Last week marked the first of many expected kiddings. A doe gave birth to beautiful and healthy twins. Several more does are due during the first two weeks of July, which means more females will be producing milk to feed the babies of Suubi Village. Plus, the newborns are super cute and fun to play with. And it’s encouraging to see the birth of females who, God willing, can be kept as replacements within the herd.
Mom with the two newest additions to Suubi Goat Farm.
Plant life has also been abounding. With many fields ready to harvest, we finally made some necessary steps toward producing silage. With a plan made and materials purchased, we’re just waiting on the machine from fabrication that will dig the pit.
Unfortunately we also lost a doe last week. For weeks, this particular doe has been sick and has not responded to treatment. When Josiah, Patrick and I arrived at the farm on Tuesday morning, we discovered that she was very weak and close to death. Since we did not want her to suffer, Patrick called the local butcher who came out and slaughtered the doe. We hoped that by harvesting her, we could discover what was making her sick. However, there were no internal signs of any illnesses or problems, so we gave the meat to the guards who keep watch over the farm.
Because of the loss of this doe and a very similar sickness found in another female, we called the vet.
Dr. Mukiibi gives advice on animal nutrition and health.
We spent most of Wednesday with Dr. Mukiibi checking up on the animals and administering treatment as needed. The sick doe was given a saline solution with ferrum in an IV.
Josiah, Patrick and I administer an IV to a sick doe.
After treating her, we went to check the cows. Patricia was due in May but never had a calf. After being palpated, the doctor concluded that she was open and was in silent heat and would require hormone treatment in order to be bred.
Dr. Mukiibi palpates one of the dairy cows.
Finally, at the end of the week, I got to completely organize all of the paper records using the filing system that Lacey Roberts developed during her time at the goat farm. It’s been so valuable to build upon things that others before me have established. It takes many minds and lots of hard work by various hands to make this operation successful, and God continues to remind me that no one person is meant to foster the development of this farm on their own.
Josiah gives a tour to one of the many groups that came to visit the farm.
As I’m writing this, I only have eight days left at Suubi village, which seems impossible. And I have a list of what seems like a million things that need to get done before I leave. But I think more than anything, I’m saddened by the fact that I’ll have to say goodbye to my new family. Some of these goodbyes have happened much earlier than I would have liked.
Friday morning when I arrived, Patrick told me that he’s going on leave for the month of July. Patrick, who has dedicated his life to the goats and the ministry of Watoto, has not had time to rest in almost a year. While I understand his rest and well-being are incredibly important, a part of me was deeply saddened to tell him goodbye earlier than I was expecting. His passion, energy and knowledge will be greatly missed by Josiah and me. If saying goodbye to one person almost wrecked me, then I can’t imagine how I’ll feel all too soon saying goodbye to the people of the farm, Suubi and Kampala. Uganda is now my home, and I didn’t envision that I would feel so attached to this place. But once again, God looked at the barriers in my heart, laughed, and knocked them down to receive the love and beauty that Uganda and her people have to offer.
Sarah Weiss is a 2017 Noble-Watoto Fellow working at Watoto Child Care Ministries in Uganda. Weiss is from Brenham, Texas, and has one semester left in the master of international agriculture program at Oklahoma State University. She focuses on education, extension and outreach.