By: Cherie Wai
“BEST DEALS”, “Christmas sale NOW ON”, “MEGA SALE”! The holiday season is upon us, with an overwhelming amount of advertisements which never fail to remind us that ’tis the season to be giving.
The other day, I took out a stack of flyers from my mail box and mindlessly flipped through each one. There, the World Vision Gift Catalogue caught my eyes; instead of tossing it on the pile of to-be-read magazines like I did last year, I picked it out and began browsing.
“Cows: Hefty source of milk, meat and income, and can help launch a small business.”
I smiled at this seemingly exaggerated description, knowing that it was actually an understatement.
The picture of a family with their cow brought a wave of nostalgia and took me all the way back to August, where I visited a World Vision sponsored family in Rwanda. Yashimimana and her three children welcomed us into their home, a modest mud-walled house furnished with patterned sofas and a beautiful red carpet. On the coffee table sat a small, cathode ray tube television.
As she began introducing her family, a loud “MOOOOO” from the backyard interrupted us, as if whatever needed to be introduced as well. Yashimimana sent her youngest daughter to refill the milk jug, and shared the story of how this cow has transformed their lives.
Donated through the gift catalogue program, the mother cow gave birth to four other calves. The first calf was generously given away to another neighbor in need. The second and third calves were sold for profit that was then invested into purchasing a piece of land for the banana plantation, renovation of the house, and new furniture that would make Yashimimana proud when welcoming guests.
The fourth calf was kept, and its dung became manure for the family’s bean and groundnut crops. With the natural and nourishing fertilizer, Yashimimana sold the abundant harvest and earned enough profit to buy A TELEVISION!
Is this not the best deal or what?
This gift of a single cow generated a ripple effect that transformed not only a family, but a community.
With an endless reproductive value, there is definitely no deal like this on the market.
The best part of this story is that it’s not over yet. As World Vision phases out of this community, Yashimimana promises to continue cultivating what has been given to her and make it an everlasting impact. In return, she has a simple request – “Take what you’ve seen and advocate for us.”
One Cow = Milk for children, land for banana plantation, manure for fertilizing, help to neighbors, a house renovation… and a TELEVISION!
So, this season, as you pick out your favorite gifts from the catalogue, remember that there is a boundless ripple effect that comes with each of them (and perhaps a TV).
Would you like to gift a cow today?
Photos by Hugh Luo & Cherie Wai