It is always nice to visit Lukunguni. Not only is it very beautifully located deep into the mountains, but the people we meet there are wonderful and hard working. The school has built the best and biggest goat shed I have seen in Mgeta. With room for about 20 goats it is well prepared for a growing goat-herd. The school received 11 goats to begin with in March last year, and they have already added five more, now totaling 16 goats. The latest newcomers were twins, born just the day before our visit. Unfortunately, though, they have also experienced deaths, and two kids did not survive.
The children are fully in charge of the goats, but receive support from three teachers at school. When the goats finish grazing in the afternoon the weekly selected team of children gather the goats and extra fodder that the goats can enjoy in their shed before the night falls. This week it was the girls’ time to pick the goats. They were singing, laughing and joking when they returned from the field with the goats, and the girls knew exactly what to do. All the goats returned safely to the school, but it sure can be challenging sometimes. When the goat is big and the girl is small it can end up in a fight of who is the strongest and most stubborn, and the who wins the fight can vary. But in the end all goats got food and all children were unharmed.
During the Christmas holiday, the school children were divided into five teams of about 45 children, with the groups having the responsibility of the goats one week each. During their week, in the mornings they have to milk them, give them food and clean the shed. In the afternoon, they have to come back again to feed them. This has worked out very well with about 40 children showing up each time. The milk they received from the goats during the holiday, when no milk was needed for the children, was sold to neighbors and the money was used to buy much needed stationary for the school and extra fodder for the goats.
Now that the school have started again they will make maize and beans or porridge from their own harvest, and add milk to the food to increase the nutritional value. The head teacher, together with the other teachers at school talk much and eagerly about the goats and the food they grow at school. We all agree that eating during the school day is critical to learn. Especially here when children walk far to come to school and it varies how much food they get at home, and few children bring food to school. If students do not eat during the school day, the classes after mid-day have very little learning value, and several do not even bother to show up. This happens much less when lunch is served at school, and the children learn much more. Lukunguni Primary school has a very torn down kitchen and their next project is to renovate it. We will support in this process since it is important to cook in a good and safe environment, and we feel this will further improve the overall school experience of the children.