All for the price of a Goat

1985

The radio telephone was not at all clear, but the voice was trying to explain that one of the containers en route from the port of Tanga had overturned some fifteen km from Loolera. Could they have permission for the Maasai warriors to open and empty the container, put it back on the truck and then reload it - and would MMM agree to pay for a goat!

Sister Genevieve remembers the day, "I had no choice. My answer was: 'Yes.Over.'"

She put the microphone back on its hook, wondering what the goat had to do with it and what the next difficulty would be.

This was in May1984.The previous August she had gone to Holland to submit the new Primary Health Care project to the funding agency, CEBEMO. Then her uncle drove her to Dokkum in Friesland, where she ordered the prefab housing. "Are you certain this can be assembled in twenty-eight days?" she asked insistently. She was hoping the engineer would say, 'Yes.'

Two English volunteers at the AMREF workshop at Dareda, Tanzania had offered to devote the twenty-eight days of their holidays to assembling the building that would house the new health centre, and build a three-roomed house and carport for the MMM community.
The Dutch engineer was very reassuring. Yes, it could be done in that time. He promised to have the house very carefully packed in two containers and sent by sea to Tanga. It was a great relief when the next call on the radio-tel gave the news that the contents of the overturned container were undamaged, and all was now ready for construction at Loolera. Nevertheless, because the work took two days, not one, the cost would be the price of two goats, which made a meal for the warriors each evening.

MMM handed over our programmes in Loolera in 2003.

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