Stuck in the midst of poverty with meager possessions and no means, the brother of five siblings and an abandoned mom, Apollo is given a chance at a brighter future including a full belly and an education, because of the goats supplied by the Salama SHIELD Foundation.
Apollo is the son of William and Alice. However when William left the family home in search of work, he disappeared and Alice was left to fend for herself with four mouths to feed. Alice suffers from mental illness and is unable to answer even basic questions, possessing over her children, not realizing the time of day or cognisant of the duties of ‘mom’.
Unable to take care of her children without a husband at home, and without sound mind, an aunt has taken on caring for Alice’s 6 children and ensuring they eat from day to day, including Apollo.
Apollo’s older sister provides for his school fees by preparing meals for the teachers at the local primary school. But the distance is so far that she often stays at the school overnight, returning a few days later.
The family has constructed a small garden from which they sell produce, and local sweet bananas to provide basic necessities like salt, paraffin and soap. Life has been hard.
In late 2008, two goats were delivered from Salama SHIELD Foundation, and excitement lit up the faces of the children. Apollo’s aunt had taken the initiative to construct a small pen for the goats, ensuring the SSF staff she would care for the goats for the children’s sake.
Apollo and his family have been given another source of income in the future offspring of these two goats – the start of small herd and the currency of the rural farmer.
Over 3 years this family’s tiny herd of two, reproduced to become six goats. By the end of 2011, the goats were moved to better grazing land where Apollo spends all his spare time watching over them.
Over the last two years, two goats have been sold. One to compensate the neighbours for farmland the goats destroyed through grazing. The other was sold to supply a bag of maize flour through the ‘hungry months’, before harvest, saving Apollo and his family from starvation.
With money left over from the sale, William, who has since returned to the family home and with employment, provided for the children’s school fees, school supplies and uniforms. And on SSF’s latest visit, the youngest daughter shyly whispered and wished out loud for better bedding and blankets with the sale of another goat. Wishes that are only possible and now a reality to Harriet, Apollo’s sister, with the collateral that a goat provides in the midst of poverty.