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 Mother Of Goats

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PostSubject: Mother Of Goats   Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:52 am

Thursday, November 5, 2009 9:45 AM
‘Mother’ of goats

Luh De Suriyani , Contributor , West Nusa Tenggara | Wed, 11/04/2009 12:01 PM | People

Sri Mardani was given her nickname “Sri Kambing”. (Goat) as a way of honoring her as a community icon of her small village in Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.

Through care and business sense, the 43-year-old has been able to send her children to school while improving the local economy, helping the environment, and supporting dozens of women through tough times when their husbands were abroad as migrant workers.

All this began with just two goats.

Sri Mardani’s small hamlet of Embung Rungkas is quite remote; the uneven roads are pitted with muddy holes, becoming almost impassable during the wet season.

But the huts that used to line the rough muddy tracks are being replaced with brick houses. And what might be a depressed area is bustling with the sounds of goats bleating and women chatting as they herd their mob. Most of the women live alone with their children, their husbands having worked in Malaysia for years.

Back in 1992, Sri persuaded her then 4-year-old son Satriawan Pahri to break open his clay piggy bank so she could buy two goats — a male and a female — to begin breeding.

“I had to start some business. My husband as an honorary civil servant got only Rp 17,000 a day. My children were going to have to drop out of school,” she recalls.

The little boy took his piggy bank to the local goat market with her. “He broke it himself right in front of the goat seller and pulled together Rp 33,000. I had some more which added up to Rp 58,000 — enough for the pair of goats.”

So the animals began to breed, under her close care. “When they got sick, I gave them powders and pills for human complaints, or oral rehydration solutions for stomach disorders. I kept trying all kinds of drugs,” she says, laughing heartily.

Over time, Sri came to learn more about what the goats liked best — what they preferred to eat, when they preferred to sleep, and what was the best way to herd them.

“Goats can’t sleep in dirty pens, so I clean them twice daily and move their manure to the corner for burning at night. The smoke produced repels mosquitoes and the goats sleep soundly,” she says.

She feeds her goats at the same time every day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Their bleating serves as an alarm. When they bleat for the first time, it’s already 10 in the morning. So my goats are rarely clamoring because they know their feeding time.”

Herding the goats to different areas is, she believes, very important. She and her two children take turns, following their goats as they wander for hours kilometers away from home. To keep them from eating other residents’ plants, they are fed turi (pea shrub) leaves taken with them.

“When they’re exhausted, they will devour the leaves and grow fast,” she adds.

All her methods worked, and her neighbors observed with amazement as her goat business began to thrive. Sri, who had lived in a woven-bamboo home, was able to build a brick house. Her first child went to college, a rarity among local people at that time (Satriawan Pahri is now a police officer in Lombok. By 2004, he had already bred 80 goats of his own).

One by one, the women in her hamlet also turned to raising goats. It gave them money, and a way to occupy themselves, so they no longer simply waited for phone calls from their husbands in Malaysia.

Sri’s initiative attracted the attention of a foreign government aid institute, Australian Community Development and Civil Society Strengthening Scheme (ACCESS), which provided support for the dissemination of this idea and strengthening of animal husbandry groups. This led in turn to support from the local administration.

“Now when my goats get sick, I can easily send for a veterinarian from the Animal Husbandry Office here … So I no longer use human drugs,” she adds with another laugh.

One day in August, more than a dozen women gathered in Sri’s home, discussing their plan to sell goats in the month of Ramadan, their delight at the soaring goat prices plain.

“The lowest price is now Rp 800,000 per head,” Sri says. “A good one can cost as much as Rp 2 million. It’s now a harvest time.”

The hamlet women have formed seven groups, each with 10 members owning at least 20 goats. These 70 women are all independently engaged in their business and determine sale prices themselves.

“When studying at police college, my son was not ashamed of being a goatherd,” Sri says. “I kept reminding him that the goats were God’s answer to his prayer, coupled with hard work, to relieve us of the tangles of poverty.”

The women have all agreed to observe the communal rule in Lombok, which prohibits the sale of kids.

Goats can be sold only when they are old enough to meet the need for mutton.

What is clear from conversation with Sri is her affection and appreciation for her animals. She always has some principle of goat care to share with the others. She realized instinctively why some goats had trouble eating, for example — their long hair covered their eyes, so they could not see the feed.

So she shaves the hair, or braids it.

Young goats also need proper attention to grow well. Some behave like dogs in the way they greet Sri when she comes home.

The groups have also agreed to rejuvenate the turi trees, which provide a good source of feed, along rice field paths. Sri considers this aspect of environment conservation a must, to preserve feed without affecting other land.

The local preference for goat meat during Ramadan and Muslim holidays ultimately rescued Sri and the other families in her hamlet, and their own well-being depends on the well-being of their animals.

As “Sri Kambing” says, with a touch of emotion, “I will always emphasize that goats have saved my life, my children and everyone here.

Mother of Goats
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View user profile http://www.mimpimanis.com
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PostSubject: Thanks for posting this article   Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:09 pm


Thanks for posting this article. Very Happy bounce

Where is this village in Lombok?

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PostSubject: Re: Mother Of Goats   Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:55 pm

Sorry Josi, I dont know the village but though it was a nice story.
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PostSubject: Embungrungkas   Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:38 pm

Embungrunkas is located +/- 10 kilometer on the road from Sengkol to Batunyale.From Mataram to Praya - Sengkol - Kuta.In Sengkol turn to the left if you see the sign Panca.Panca - Buntereng - Embungrunkas.
Or Praya to Mujur - Keruak.In Batunyale(between praya - mujur) turn to the right if you see the sign Tempas -
Gilik. In Gillik straight ahead to Embungrungkas.
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