Dalenge and his wife have seven biological children and live in Gemena , Democratic Republic of Congo. They are also the adoptive parents to four AIDS orphans, creating quite the full house. As we visit them today, six of the children are in school, with the other school-aged children at home because they finished their final exams yesterday and the youngest don’t attend school yet. They are excited to be on vacation while their siblings are still taking exams today and love being included in photos.
While the entire family will benefit from AFCA’s work here, it is the orphans who will own the animals they will receive as part of the program. Two female pigs and one male pig will be given to this particular family as soon as their housing is complete and the family is looking forward to raising many piglets. They’ve been taught how to care for the animals, along with much-needed veterinary skills and when asked about the training, Dalenge smiled big and said it was very useful and that he is passing on everything he learned to the children so that they can learn these skills, as well. A second 5-day training will be held in a couple of months to take the beneficiaries receive even more useful information as their herds and flocks grow.
Meanwhile, their stack of bricks grows as the family makes them for the piggery. It is neat to see how happy they are to be part of this project and I don’t have a doubt that the pigs will help them care for all the children in the family. Dalenge says that they will pay for school fees, food, and blankets with the money they earn from the sale of pigs, which they can do once they’ve given the required three full-grown pigs to another family.
Besides learning about animal husbandry, the family was also trained in how to grow large plots of corn and cassava, as well as smaller vegetable gardens. We visit Dalenge’s garden and thrilled happy to see baby garlic, onion, cabbage (two kinds), tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and other veggies growing. He’s built shade over the cabbage seedlings to protect them from the hot sun and these little guys are growing healthfully. The family looks forward to adding fresh veggies to their main daily meal and to saving corn seed for next year. In fact, Dalenge shows us how he is already harvesting spinach seeds and how he has set aside a small plot of land just for plants from which he is going to harvest seed. This is certainly one family who won’t need our help very soon, which is exactly the point.