Student - July 5, 2012

Among the goats in Mozambique

Text:
Suzanne Overbeek

Who? Caren Krul, MSc Animal Sciences
Where? In Vilanculos, Mozambique
What? Internship at imGoats
Why? I wanted to learn more about goats and their role in developing countries

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In Mozambique a lot of goats die because goat farmers don't know much about goat management and goat health. To improve on that, goat farmers in every village have chosen someone to be trained as a paravet, a kind of vet 'lite'. The aim of my internship assignment was to make a fairly simple form with which paravets can keep track of certain parameters (for example the growth of young animals and the composition of the herd).
People here hold their traditional beliefs alongside their Christian faith. They believe in witches and evil spirits. Goats are sacrificed to placate the spirits and to restore people to health. I was also surprised to find a big difference in status between men and women. When we interviewed a group of men and women, the women would sit on the ground and the men on chairs or logs. We were also invited to take a seat on the chairs. They also thought it strange that we wore trousers instead of the capalanas (long skirts) they wear there. It is not done to sit with your legs crossed. . When I sat cross legged on one occasion, there was quite a commotion. One woman tapped me on the knees and I quickly had to stretch my legs out in front of me again.
In the weekends my travelling companion and I made regular trips in the beautiful surrounding area. Off the Vilanculos coast lies a nature area with beautiful islands and underwater reefs, superbly suited to diving, snorkelling and boat trips. We saw dolphins, sea turtles and pirate fish, to name but a few. Once, I found some puppies on the beach. They had been abandoned there and were dehydrated. I took them home and fed them night and day. They couldn't even see, that's how small they were! Now they are four sturdy girls and we've found good homes for them.

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