Pay it forward

Today we visited the town of Binh Trieu, approximately 1 hour directly south of DaNang.

We walked into a government facility in which 30 families were participating in training on how to manage, maintain and ‘grow’ pigs.

Identified as “the poorest of the poor”, the participants had been nominated by ACC International Relief field workers and government officials for participation in the Pay It Forward livestock program.

After 2 hours of training, each family representative then chooses a number from a hat as part of the ‘pig lottery’. This number relates directly to a tagged number that is on a piglet in a truck in the building compound.

The family representative is then interviewed, assigned the same number as the pig and details are provided such as their annual income, living situation, and what change they believe this program will bring to their family. Each of them must also sign a commitment to ‘pay forward’ (to their neighbour) the best 2 piglets from their first litter.

Then each family collect their pig.

I was on hand to witness most of this, hand out pigs and interview a number of the recipients.

To be described as “the poorest of the poor” in a country that is generally very poor is quite a significant burden. However, the beautiful dignity and humility of each of these people was truly inspiring.

All of them spoke of what a significant change this would bring to their family and their life. Increased income, being able to send their children to school, not having to merely live day to day, and improving the overall sustainability of their community were the major changes that they indicated that this pig would bring.

A pig.

One little pig (ranging in size from from 7kg to 18kg), which will be artificially inseminated in 6 months time, bear a litter and continue a cycle of livestock farming – can bring so much change.

This stuff wrecks you.

It challenges you.

It causes you to question your lifestyle, ‘extravagance’ and priorities.

Tomorrow we head out to another community to present scholarships for kids to attend school, and to witness ‘traffic school’. Then we head to Tam Ky and set-up base to travel 3 hours each way into Tra Giac (pron. Tra Yuck).

This village has had very limited contact with ‘westerners’. And this has exciting and extremely challenging implications for our team and our ongoing work.

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