Day Two: Rwandan Government Greet Bóthar and Jim Gavin
Rwandan Government greets Jim Gavin-led Bóthar Rwandan livestock aid mission.
In-calf heifers will be "treated like pets"
Wednesday 12 October 2016: Dublin football manager Jim Gavin’s Rwandan mission with aid agency Bóthar to deliver over 5,000 animals to impoverished families has been given the thumbs up by one of the African nation’s top Ministers.
Rwandan Minister for Agriculture Gerardine Mukeshimana presides over the country’s top brief, with agriculture by far the impoverished country’s top industry.
And yesterday she lauded Bóthar and Gavin for their “fantastic support” for her country, which will see 800 widows of the horrific genocide of the mid-1990s receive the gift of income-and-food producing animals.
“This means a lot for the people of Rwanda. It means a lot to this government because these animals are coming to support the programmes we are implementing to get people out of poverty."
“We will see them (recipient families) using the income from these cows to do so much, including right up to putting their children through school. It makes such a difference."
“What Bóthar does for these families is fantastic. They will have nutritious food on the table and plenty more to sell. It changes lives.”
The historic flight is marking the 25th anniversary of the aid agency Bóthar. The cargo, flown on an Airbus A300-600ER aircraft from Shannon Airport, included 37 in-calf heifers, three bulls for the Rwandan Government National Bovine Breeding Scheme, 260 pigs, 100 goats, and 5,000 chicks. Also on board was 5,000 doses of Bovine Semen for the Rwandan Breeding Programme run by Bóthar’s sister agency Heifer International. Gavin, an experienced pilot, landed with precious cargo yesterday afternoon after a 12 hour flight including stop-over for refuelling and rest in Cairo.
On arrival the animals were transported to The Showgrounds in the Rwandan capital Kigali, with the in-calf heifers taking happily in the lush green surrounds to their specially prepared elephant grass.
They will moved over the coming days to families across Rwandan where, according to Bóthar’s on-site representative Aideen O’Leary, they will be treated like family members.
These cows are going to stay here for three nights until they have been watered and fed as they have almost 300km to travel to reach their families.
Said O’Leary, sister of former Irish rugby international Tomas and daughter of Cork hurling legend Seanie: “These animals will be treated like family members. The families are so excited. They have been growing their food source for the animals and are preparing their water source, water-harvesting and they are just generally really excited to invite a new member into their family.“
"In Rwanda there’s a huge compassion for cows. It’s part of their culture. All of their songs and dancing – they’re all about the cows. They are treated like a pet. It’s like having a pet at home in the house. Everyone in the whole village, the whole community comes and greets the cows and sees how they are doing. They really do thrive when they go to their homes.”
The Dublin manager was struck by the sense of occasion that greeted the animals’ arrival.
“To have a Rwandan Government Minister on hand and other dignitaries shows just how much this means to the people here, and how much of a difference Irish livestock will make to their people’s lives.”
“There was a great sense of celebration .They had traditional dancers welcoming the cows down off the ramp and the recipient families have been preparing for this for six months with animal husbandry support provided by Bóthar. It’s a special project for sure.”
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