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Stolen Goats

During her visit to The Gambia in February 2011, Pippa Howard called at a very poor Gambian house to collect letters from the children to their sponsors back in the UK. She was very disturbed to find that ALL the goats belonging to the family had been stolen. This was a really terrible blow, as the goats were the only things of value that they possessed.

Replacing the goats
More goats
Goats as Ethical Gifts
Some New Arrivals

The thieves took three goats on one night and came back for the remaining four a few nights later. No-one saw or heard anything. Such thefts are quite rare, but nevertheless it is appalling that someone should steal from such a poor family. Even though the family didn't ask, Pippa decided to start a quick collection on her return to the UK, so that at least some of the goats could be replaced.

The Appeal

An adult goat costs about 1,800 - 2,200 dalasis (£40 - £48). Pippa initially set herself a target of collecting £240 - enough to replace maybe five of the goats. This target was reached in just five days, so a new target was set, so that all seven goats could be replaced. The success of the appeal, which closed on 10 April, was almost overwhelming – in 5 weeks we reached nearly £810. This was enough to replace all seven goats, provide a lockable shelter where they will now be secure at night and to buy and donate some goats (and maybe shelters) to two other deserving families. Our grateful thanks to all who contributed to this amazing total, especially staff at ERA Technology, and members of St John's Church, Broadbridge Heath.

Replacing the Goats

Pippa, Tina and Frances visited The Gambia in April 2011. (
see blog of their visit) On 12 April they went to the family compound from which the goats were stolen, to measure up for a shelter to house the goats at night. They gave Baba the money for the shelter, to include a secure roof, windows for ventilation, and a door with a padlock - the new goats will be very spoilt!

The photo shows Baba and his wife, Tunku, showing the Pageant team where they will put the goat shelter – just behind their house, so that no-one can get into it without them being heard.

A week later on 19 April was Goat Buying Day. This was a first for  PAGEANT, and all were quite excited at the prospect of a new 'Gambia experience'! First they stopped at the compound to check that the shelter had been built and was secure enough to prevent the new goats from being stolen. The team found an excellent shelter, complete with ventilation, food and water, and a lockable door.

Wandifa checks the shelter

Baba and goats in the shelter

Frances and goats

Furthermore, five of the goats had already been selected from a neighbouring farmer and were installed in their new surroundings, looking very much at home. This was very good news, as the team had been a little apprehensive about the prospect of leading several possibly reluctant goats through dusty streets, with amused onlookers to help or hinder their progress! So, we are proud to announce that Bill, Sophie, Eloise, Buzz and Eli have been installed. Eli was not too keen to wear her name badge and, as she was fairly heavily pregnant, it was decided to let her off the ordeal.






Later on Nia and Huw joined them, so all seven stolen goats have now been replaced. All the name badges are now tied above the door and Baba’s children already know which name to call each goat!

The goats were kept in the shelter and the small enclosed space at the back of the house for about two weeks, until they knew it was their home. The older ones are then gradually allowed to wander further afield, at first under Baba’s watchful eye. Once they return home each evening the younger ones (Sophie and Eloise) will be allowed to go with them.

Name badges on the shelter

More Goats

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Because the goat appeal was so successful, Pageant has arranged for two more needy families to have three or four goats each, plus secure shelters if needed. This will give them real help to prosper through the rainy season ahead. Pageant has decided that when a family receives donated goats, they will be asked to donate two baby goats to another family in need as soon as they can, and thus spread the good fortune. Baba thought that this was an excellent idea and says he will be proud to donate goats in his turn. He was really amazed that people in UK would donate money for goats to help a Gambian family.

Goats as Ethical Gifts

The overwhelmingly generous response to our Goats Appeal prompted us to add a goat to our Ethical Gifts page. To find out more, please look at our Gift of a Goat for more information.

Some New Arrivals

Pippa and Ian visited Baba's compound a couple of times in October 2011. When they were there previously in April, Eli (below left) was pregnant. Her son was born in May, and is now growing up. He is a very good tree climber, as shown by the middle photo below. Baba has built a platform for the goats to sleep on at night. The photo (below right) shows him standing on it. One of his daughters' jobs in the morning is to let the goats out of their shed, prop the platform up on its side, remove any droppings for use in the garden, clean out the floor beneath it, sprinkle fresh sand down and re position the platform.


Eli's son up a tree

Baba on the platform

About ten days later, Pippa and Ian had a phone call from Baba, who said they MUST go to see him as he had a surprise – a new baby goat, born the previous day. (see below left) Very cute – such big furry legs for such a small creature. Baba didn't know if it was a boy or a girl, and Pippa and Ian were unsure which was mum at that stage, as all the goats were out loose in the long grasses that day.

Baba's new baby kid

the twins

Then, a few days later, Pippa and Ian visited another family on the North Bank that had received some goats from Pageant. One of their goats had just had twins. (see above right) Both these families are going to give two of their baby goats to another family in need during the first year after receiving their own donated goats.


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