Sheep Help Families Break Out of Poverty

For today’s post, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Baa-bette. Yep, she’s a sheep – or rather, a ewe – that lives in Ethiopia. Her sheep-mom is one of the people Food for the Hungry helped to increase agricultural income.

With a name like Beth A. Allen, which plays out as BAA in a monogram,  I have a lifelong bond with sheep. I’ve met so many who are world-changers for the families who tend them.

Baa-bette loves little children too, so I urge you to gather them ’round to hear her story.

My name’s Baa-bette and I live in the Ethiopian highlands, where it’s very dry and hard to make a living. A few years back, a lady named Kibeme bought me to start her herd. Life’s hard in rural Ethiopia, so Kibeme was grateful for the chance to boost her income and provide for her many children.

Sheep like me have a reputation for being dumb, especially in the Bible. We get lost, or we get cast down (that is, legs up to the sky, on our backs, unable to stand upright again). We follow dumbly without thinking….you know the list.

But I can really help a family out, if you treat me right.

FH Ethiopia income generation participant with livestock

This is Kibeme. And that might be me (Baa-bette), near her feet. Hard to tell when I’m not facing the camera.

The gift that keeps on giving

FH’s Ethiopian program helped Kibeme find the resources to buy me. So that was the plan from the start — I’d help put more pennies in her purse.

Kibeme can shear me and sell my wool at the market. Or she can spin it herself and make it into a warm sweater for her children. (Did you think all of Africa is hot? Africa is a huge, diverse continent. And parts of it can be cold, especially in the mountains.)

Raw wool can be used for insulation too. You can stuff it into a mattress or weave it into a blanket, to make a bed toasty warm.

And, I’ve heard from sheep-sisters in other countries that moms often use wool blankets to carry their babies on their backs.

This is my cousin Ewe-stacia from Peru. You can see her sheep-mom has a wool blanket on her back. She’s not carrying a baby this time, but many Peruvian women do carry babies on their backs with their blankets!

Can you help add more sheep?

As long as Kibeme takes care of me, I’ll live a long sheep-life, maybe have a few baby lambs along the way to increase her herd. If she has an emergency, like one of the kids gets sick, she can sell one of us sheep to a new owner and get some ready cash.

And because FH helped form a savings group in her village, Kibeme has a lot of help raising me. Other women and men in her savings group raise sheep too. So she’s hooked into people who can help her take good care of me.

I’d love for other families to have a sheep like me. There are over 1,000 families in Ethiopia who need sheep and goats this year.  You can help by donating a sheep through FH’s on-line gift catalog. It’s not a BAAA-d way to make a difference!