Arusha Project

Faraja’s Goat Ceremony
July 6, 2009, 8:42 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Faraja means consolation, and is the name of  our partner org here in Arusha.  Faraja also works to promote gender equity by working with women who are HIV positive and negative, and is a community organization. They are one of the orgs that we conduct our microcredit program through, and Sister Felly, one of their directors, is our chief loan officer. She had recieved ~10 goats from a government program she had applied for, and held a ceremony at their church, wherein members of Faraja would receive these goats. She invited Arusha Project volunteers to attend, so we did!

After the long wait (Swahili time is like Indian time which is like many other folks’ times which means anytime within 20 minutes to an hour late is still on time), the goats finally arrived (they arrived by public bus, escorted by the government officer), the goats were fed and the ceremony began. A social welfare officer was the primary guest of honor, along with the village chairperson, directors of Faraja, and of course the women of Faraja. There was soda and water for the guests of honor (us, and the aforementioned folks), and a representative from each entity made a speech, as is also customary (the more important the folk, the longer the talk). The social welfare officer talked for a while, of course this is all in Swahili and there was no translation, so we were kind of guessing, but a few pieces that were translated went as follows; first that these goats are not handouts, they have been worked for and are for the benefit of these women as members of the community, and second that the virus (HIV) doesn’t deserve respect, and it is everyone’s problem. Then each of the women went up to receive their goats, among lots of cheering.  Afterward, the welfare officer symbolically  fed the goats, so that they would never be hungry. There was a lot of beautiful singing and dancing, and afterward we went to the priests house to have another soda and then said our goodbyes.


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