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Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Yo! Buy a Water Buffalo!

Water buffalo are strong and can plow a field or pull a heavy load with ease.  They eat weeds and grasses in areas that might not support other livestock and provide an abundance of manure for fertilizing gardens.  Farmers can hire out their water buffalo’s pulling power to get extra income for medicine and school costs.

Water Buffalo Facts
·         Water buffalo provide five percent of the world’s milk.
·         With a water buffalo to plow, farmers can earn four times more than if plowing by hand.
·         Water buffalo have big hooves with two wide, flat “toes” that help them walk in mud.
·         A water buffalo is slow but steady, moving about three kilometers per hour.
·         You can tell how old a water buffalo is by counting the grooves on one of its horns.

Water Buffalo Tale
“Without a draft animal as a constant companion, the farmer is crippled,” is a Filipino saying.  A water buffalo – or a carabao, as it’s called here – makes plowing much faster and gets better results than doing the work by hand.  But most farmers hardly dare dream of owning or even sharing one.

Dream became reality for Junior and Fe Lucero, owners of a tiny hillside plot.  They studied sustainable farming and got a male carabao from the Heifer Draft Animal Loan Project.  They began plowing an uncle’s acres, agreeing to pay him one quarter of the profits.  Their first harvest yielded $800 – in Junior’s words, “The first time we ever had that much money.”

They paid back part of the water buffalo’s cost and bought materials to fix up their house.  With the second harvest, they bought a young horse to haul loads.  The following year, they bartered the mature horse for a pregnant female carabao, paid off their Heifer loan, and sold the male buffalo to buy more land.  With the sale of the calf, they put electricity in their house.  Fe says, “The light from the incandescent bulb was heartwarming, giving us signs of a better tomorrow.”

(Information provided by the Heifer International Living Gift Market guide and Heifer International’s Animal Crackers educational resource)

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