“The righteous care for the needs of their animals.”
This verse from Proverbs came to mind when talking with CURE Uganda co-worker Geoffrey Waniaye about the newly hatched CURE Chicken Project. In addition to his work as a general services assistant in housekeeping, Geoffrey is responsible for the daily care of close to 100 chickens here at our hospital, and he has been doing a fantastic job! Not only does Geoffrey feed and water the chickens, but he also keeps a close eye on their health and even gives them special treats of scraps from the CURE kitchen. After having Geoffrey explain how he cares for these quirky and wonderful birds, we can tell that he does his work with great care and love for these animals!
One of Geoffrey’s jobs is to take some of the eggs the hens lay and monitor them in the incubator until they hatch. It takes an egg 21 days to grow into a baby chick, and Geoffrey carefully watches to make sure our incubator is at the right temperature and humidity. After the baby chicks hatch, he feeds them special food in their pen and keeps a close eye on them until they’re old enough to eat regular chicken food.
Once the new chicks are a month old, they look more like teenage chickens than little fluffy chicks! Geoffrey is working with our CURE Uganda Spiritual Department and Social Work Department to bless some of our patients’ families with a one-month-old hen and a rooster. This gift will enable each family to produce their own baby chicks and hopefully grow their own flock of chickens. That way, they can sell eggs and/or the chicks in the market as an income-generating business to help support and feed their family.
Recently Pastor Fred Wangwa and social worker Issac Emurang gathered with Geoffrey to give a hen and rooster to the first four CURE Chicken Project families. To qualify for the CURE Chicken Project, parents need to bring their children to three consecutive reviews (check-ups) with our medical team in our outpatient department. The social work team works closely with the doctors, so they know who has been coming back for their check-ups on time! Fred, Issac, and Geoffrey had a great time encouraging the families as they gave them each their new hen and rooster.
Social Worker Issac explained about the project: “It was mainly developed by the spiritual department, because in addition to preaching the gospel, they wanted to give something tangible to the families, both as an incentive to encourage them to come to review, and to let them know that God cares for them.”
Pastor Simon Peter explains more about the motivation for the CURE Chicken Project: “It’s intentional empowerment. These mothers have suffered a lot, and this helps them with financial empowerment. You know, many times the mothers can’t come back for their review appointment, because their husbands won’t give them the money for transport (for the bus fares). This (the chicken project) enables them to create their own small income-generating business and also provides an incentive for them to come back for their reviews.”
While the parents were very excited to receive the chickens, some of the children were a little afraid! They watched carefully as Issac and Geoffrey tied up the chicken’s legs with some dried vines from the garden. The chickens flapped around a bit, but as soon as they were hung upside-down, they calmed down, and the parents were able to carry them home. Some of the mothers had a lot to carry: a baby on their back, luggage to bring home from the hospital, and now two live chickens!
Issac shared how the families felt receiving their gift: “The families were very grateful, and one even has five chickens at home already, so she will be able to expand her project, which will be a very good thing for her.”
Issac was impacted by the chicken project as well: “Seeing the chickens gave me a sense of hope; I was so encouraged by how fast they grow that I was encouraged to start my own project!” He’s beginning work on a small pen to take care of chickens at his home, and Geoffrey is giving him advice and support.
Seeing how carefully Geoffrey cares for each little chick and chicken reminds us of the tenderness and care God shows each of us. Thank you, Geoffrey, for this wonderful example!
Enjoy these photos highlighting our CURE Chicken Project!
Footnotes: Story and photos by Abby Watrous, CURE Uganda Storyteller