Making A Difference

How to become an international goat broker!

This is a simple story of how a little girl aged seven years old made a big difference to a whole family.

A friend of ours who knew that we were going to Burma told us that her daughter was about to have a birthday. She said that Gemma did not want to have lots of presents because she already had enough toys and books and she asked her family to give her money instead. She wanted to use it to buy goats for a needy family.

Gemma had a lovely birthday and she was given money from her friends and relatives. She was a very lucky child because her family knew what she wanted to do and were very generous. Gemma was given a hundred pounds for her birthday and she was very excited by the prospect of this money helping others. She asked me to find a poor family in Burma and buy them some goats.
When I arrived in Burma I wondered how one became ‘An International Goat Broker’!!! After meeting and talking to people there, we were told about a family who had had very hard times and had been helped by their family and friends to survive. We met the man and asked him if he would like some goats? Did he have the means to look after them? And did he know how to look after them? The answer to all these questions was a very definite “yes”. He also said that his friends and neighbours, who had helped them through the bad times, would benefit if he had the goats, as they would be able to share them with him.

The following day we started off bright and early, the sun was already hot and we were taken to the man’s house deep in the country and met his lovely family. We were made so very welcome. Although we had already had our breakfast the family had prepared a local meal for us.
The granny was bending over a huge iron pot and stirring beans, rice and what looked like tea leaves for our meal and they generously provided us with bottles of water. We were shown their home which was made of bamboo and wood with a roof of palm leaves. Everywhere looked neat and clean and had been freshly swept for our visit. In the corner of the yard was a place for animals. The village was right in the country and there was grazing not far away for the goats. Whilst we were eating the villagers came to look at us – we were obviously the curiosity of the day!
Then the adventure began!!! We visited several farms to look at goats and some were too expensive, some were not in very good condition, and others were up in the hills grazing and couldn’t be rounded up in time!! It was hot and dusty as we drove many miles round country lanes; passing bullock carts piled high with what looked like reeds or straw. We finally came to a small farm that had many healthy goats. They were well looked after and were kept in a wooden, straw covered enclosure.

There was a great variety of goats. We were spoilt for choice. There were large male and female goats, many little kids in all colours and they were all extremely healthy. We spent ages choosing the goats that we were going to buy and could not understand why the ones we had chosen were never increasing in numbers!! The reason was that as they were selected and put in their special ‘for sale’ pen they kept squeezing under the fence and re-joining the others!
After much laughter we finally selected all our goats. We had seven females, (most of them in kid.), two splendid Billy goats and a selection of kids. The farmer was happy and so was their new owner! I asked him to call a specially marked black and white goat ‘Gemma’. She was the prize one of all the goats that we had selected and she was different…just like the little girl who had spent all her birthday money on something so special for a whole lot of people whom she had never met and who had so little. She had helped to transform their lives by being unselfish (a considerable achievement for a seven year old).

It proves that with a little thought, effort and imagination anyone can make a huge difference to other people’s lives – and everyone has a birthday, which they could use to help someone else!!