For Joyce Ngumbao, a mother of five living in Kenya, a brood of chickens has made all the difference.
In the past, she and her husband struggled to feed their children. Although they worked hard on their modest family farm, unpredictable weather meant they couldn’t rely on a sufficient harvest from their crops every year.
Ngumbao said her family often had to skip meals, eating just twice a day. “I’d wake up in the morning with children needing food. But I would have nothing, not even some porridge.”
With encouragement from a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) partner organization, Utooni Development Organization (UDO), Ngumbao was able to purchase a brood of chickens. UDO’s staff also trained her how to raise and care for the chickens.
Ngumbau’s chickens began laying the foundation for a better future for her family. A typical hen lays more than 200 eggs per year, providing an enduring source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Chickens are one option that Canadians may choose to give to people around the world this Christmas by purchasing them from MCC’s Christmas Giving guide. Canadians who buy chickens – $13 buys enough for two families – will have their gifts doubled, up to $33,000 by generous donors.
Other gifts related to food, water, education, health and peace are also options in the guide. Many people choose to purchase gifts in the name of a friend or family member.
Ngumbao not only benefits from chickens, she has learned new methods of farming from UDO to increase her harvests and income. Between the increased yields and her thriving flock of chickens, she can now ensure her family has three solid meals a day.
“Now we wake up with everyone feeling very healthy,” Ngumbao says. “We wake up and get breakfast.”
Those crops and fresh eggs also mean her children are well-fed and energized for school, which is something the family can now afford.
The family also can sell any eggs they don’t consume. This income helps pay for the family’s expenses.
It also allows them to re-invest in their farm. So far, they have improved their chicken coop and expanded their flock. That’s just good egg-onomics.
“We feel joy,” Ngumbao says, “because we have everything we need.”