A goat can give a long-term improvement in an ordinary life. That is mercy!

Goats of Mercy

In the summer of 2008, we visited the Oyugis Integrated Project for the fifth time. Our first time was in 2000, when we left for Kenya, unsure, yet hopeful, with our two girls who were then 9 and 11 years old. In the meantime, we know what we can expect; we meet old friends, and we are able to compare the visit with previous years, because things really can change during our absence.

Carry on

We already heard about such changes, from people who visited Oyugis, and also the people of OIPtold us that a lot had been changed since Brother Anthony Koning passed away in 2005. Fortunately, we found out that the OIP still continues.

The OIP is still working with very involved people, who are willing to ease the burden of the population affected by aids. We still meet people who understand and set forward the spirit of the Brothers. People who are moved by the poor, the widows and the orphans. People who take care of ordinary people.

The living spirit of the Good Jesus, the spirit of the deceased brother Anthony Koning, and the Brothers CMM in general, are very important for the proper functioning of the Oyugis Integrated Project and the welfare of the people who depend on them.

See a farmer, be a farmer!

During the time that Brother Anthony Koning was in charge of the OIP, the project’s compound was crowded with animals. Chicken, rabbits, tortoise, pigs, a cow, turkeys, guinea fowl, ducks, cats and a few dogs. In recent years, those animals were all gone, but a revival is coming. Brother Kees Hems writes:

‘In the OIP compound, the poultry is expanded, and two sheep have lambed. We also have a donkey that can carry a lot of things (there’s an orphan who earns a living with this), and a cow that is milked every day. The milkman sells the milk; the proceeds are for his family. We even have four ducks, two of them are breeding and one duck has nine ducklings. The staff is interested in the ducklings, and wants to take them home for their children. This might become a good business for our orphans!’

The income-generating activities with poultry and other livestock in the area of the OIP are an example to the locals. See a farmer, be a farmer!

The rise of the goat

During our visit, we learned about the farm. We entered the field with agriculture experts Boaz and Jacob. The HPI (Heifer Project International), which works together with OIP, has cattle and plows available for people who are interested. These people offer their labor (like building a stable, or providing food stock), and have taken courses at the OIP about animal care.
First, they only worked with dairy cows and oxen teams. For about two years, also the donkeys came in. Because of their strength, donkeys are very suitable to transport goods. The HPIhas recently switched from cows to goats. This has several reasons:

A cow is much more expensive, both to purchase and to feed. The gestation period of a goat is shorter, so more young animals are born. These young grow quickly and can be sold easily. Because of the shorter gestation period, the milk starts earlier. The goats provide milk for consumption, and a higher yield can be sold. Additionally, a goat is easier to feed: a goat finds food at the side of the road and is not picky. Cows need fresh grass, often specially grown. The droppings can be used as fertilizer in the vegetable garden.


Several farmers now own a male and a female goat. The first kids were born and passed on to other farmers. Recently, an OIP goat was awarded during an exhibition at the HPI! However, the goat project is still in its infancy. There is no big herd of goats yet. A problem that still must be overcome is the unfamiliarity with the use of goat milk. The people are accustomed to cows’ milk. A Dutch saying is: ‘what a farmer does not know, he does not eat.’ Apparently, this saying also applies to Kenyan farmers!

The farmers become familiar with and convinced of the qualities and potential of goats and their milk, through cooperation within the regional goat breeders association, with Kendu Bay as the center. Furthermore, advertising and actively seeking a good market are important issues.

Three stories

Together with Jacob and Boaz Lok Ogungo, we visited some women who have received a male and a female goat. Two goats were pregnant; one of them has already given birth. Rosemary Adhiambo is a widow with six children of her own, and she also has eight children of her brothers to feed. She has a vegetable garden, from which she sells what they themselves do not need. The goat has had kids and milk production has started. The male goat is also used for breeding with local goats, in order to bring their young to a qualitatively higher level.

Dora Adhiambo is a widow, and member of the Tuvumiliane group. She has four children, and she also takes care of two children of her sister. She owns a small piece of land at which she has set up a vegetable garden, with sukuma wiki and other local vegetables. Dora would like to keep cattle for milk production. After she had made a goat stable, she got a goat from Heifer. The goat has not given birth yet. Dora hopes this will happen soon, because the milk supply for her children will then improve.

Monica Okeyo is the second wife of her husband. When the first wife was deceased, Monica took care of her children. She got a goat to improve her income. Unfortunately, her husband lost his job, and now the care for an income all comes down to Monica. This woman is an example for the neighborhood when it comes to agriculture and livestock; she is doing very well!

Merciful goats

The examples mentioned above deal with the I of the OIP: it is an integrated project, which means that the employees, in addition to medical and mental health care, also focus on education, promotion and agricultural development. The examples also tell us something about the presence of the OIP people among ordinary people. A goat can give a long-term improvement in an ordinary life. That is mercy!

Henk van de Wal, associate member

Editor of the Dutch OIP News Letter