Pigs for Peace

Yesterday, was my day to tour our Pigs for Peace project in the villages surrounding Bukavu. We left early in the morning to reach the villages and have plenty of time to meet with women and families who have received the pigs – my research assistants – Dr.Octave – a physics and math teacher at a local high school and Dr. Maphie – a physician at the general hospital – will be conducting interviews in the Mashi language with the women as part of our evaluation of the program as I go out to tour the project.  One challenge to the research is my lack of knowledge of the local language – the RAs translate the Mashi to French for me at the interview – they write the responses in French – I am recording the interview as well – then I have hired another Congolese teacher here to transcribe the interview to English – so I can review with Hopkins team to see if we need to do follow-up on questions – etc. I am lucky to have such good colleagues here because we are making it work well.

Back to the pigs – we were welcomed to the villages of Ciriri at 8am with women dancing and singing – the team walked to the village followed by the singing and dancing of 30 women, children running along side and lots of greetings – we great in Swahili – Jambo- we all walked to the village meeting room for a formal welcome – which consists of introductions, more singing, and speeches from the village and program leaders. After – we are off to see the women who have received the project pigs and briefly talk with them about the project. As I am touring – Ben Brinton – Hopkins med student and research assistant will stay in village with Dr. Octave and Maphie to have more formal interviews with project participants. So – I am off up the mountains over the hills to meet women and their families – and by 1pm – I had managed to visit about 25 women. All the stories were impressive but some will stay with me forever – up a very steep hill – I met a 70 year old widower who used her money from selling piglets from her pig to build a house for herself and grandchildren – her children were too poor to support her so she was struggling to live – after selling her piglets – 7 from first pregnancy and 5 from second – she had enough to build the house, buy clothes for family and buy seeds for planting.

More later time for work…

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