After months of organizing and planning, and with the extremely generous support of so many people, we attended the first cow dedication ceremony. Our family piled into Katie Davis' car and drove about twenty minutes this morning to the church where the cow dedication service would take place. There was a lot of singing and dancing. Katie Davis, the wife of infectious disease physician Michael Davis, presented a beautiful summary of the entire Bible for the church congregation, incorporating the children holding up pictures that she had brought to illustrate the stories.
The pastor shared that she had broken from her line and that they had been looking for her for a few days, but that they had found her. "A prodigal cow..." I thought to myself. We adjourned outside where the cow was feeding.
Typically the cows are given to widows who have children, but in this case, the Tabitha Ministries board had chosen a couple who must remain on chronic medical therapy because of a chronic immune deficiency syndrome and are struggling to make ends meet. The decision of who gets the cows is left up to the Tabitha Ministries board members and local church officials. This system seems to work out very well, where the process is not abused.
This is one of the daughters of the couple who are receiving the cows. She was a bit shy, but I managed to get her to smile. She was also walking and holding Anna and Amber's hands.
This was the younger of the daughters. She was staying very close to her mama. They said that there were other children who were not able to attend today.
Here is Teresa with Janet, the pastors' wife. They invited us over for a mid-afternoon lunch and tea time at their house, and they also showed us how they care and feed for their own cows.
I hesitated to take a picture of the food, but it was really good. It was a simple mix of beans, rice, potatoes and chapati (which is like a thick tortilla made with extra lard to make it taste really delicious). Their tiny living room was packed full of their guests.
The senior board member of Tabitha Ministries, Pastor David, took us on a tour outside to show us how they care for the cows.
This is a dried high protein cow food that they make from a mixture of dried grasses and plants that are grown and harvested on the property.
Here is the pastor's son after a demonstration of the machine that cuts the plants and hay up into the feed mix that they make themselves. This machine was essentially an open blade that a motor spins as you feed the plants and hay into the blade. The pastor cautioned afterward not to put your hand in the blade, but it looked like an accident to happen to me! I couldn't help but wonder how many fingers had been unintentionally added to cow feed.
Anna and Amber seems to have an affinity for cows, at least until this one slobbered up Amber's arm.
This is Margaret, the woman who received the cow today. She was incredibly grateful and humble about her family receiving the cow.
The pastor walked us down to show us the fields where they grow the grass and plants that they use to feed their cows.
This cow really wanted her picture taken! These cows were not afraid of people at all, and followed us around.
They showed us the milking process and took some of the fresh milk to make us chai. We adjourned back to the pastors' living room to enjoy fresh hot chai. The chai is very sweet here, and was probably more delicious because of the fresh whole unpasteurized milk. Yummy!
A special thank you to over 100 of our friends who have given toward the purchase of these cows. These cows will change the lives of widows and their families. Although the cow today was given to a family, their were unusual circumstances here. A cow can provide food and income for these widows, and is a huge stabilization for their families. If you would like to donate toward a cow, every $30 or $300 donation received on this blog will be considered a donation toward a cow. One cow = $300. You can go to the home page of this blog and then follow the directions next to the Donate Here box. Thank you!