You voted to have Kirsten milk Chooti the cow... and so today, she did! And it went a little something like this....
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“Our journey began…”
This is how the DD Karunaratne, the father, described the impact of Chooti the cow on his family. When they received the cow, their journey began.
For the first time, they did not worry about their future. They had money to focus on health and education, and they had nutritious milk for their children. As he and his wife, Irangani, spoke with me, it was almost like the cow brought with her an entirely new life for the family.
DD Karunaratne is frequently ill. Before World Vision assisted them, they could not afford visits to the doctor, and so Irangani had to work because her husband couldn’t. The work available in their region is intense day labor, for which women are not first chosen.
Not only was it hard for a woman to find a job, but it was hard work and long hours. Despite her work, money was scarce.
Now, just over a year later, Chooti has provided three calves and more than enough milk. World Vision’s livestock program requires each family to give their cow’s firstborn female to another family in need — a beautiful way to multiply the impact of one gift beyond one family to an entire community. Every day, Irangani gets enough milk for her family and to sell at the local milk collection center.
Today, thanks to votes from our Facebook fans, I got the opportunity to milk Chooti. And I can tell you that it only takes milking a cow once to understand the eight steps to cow milking.
1. Wake up early: Chooti is milked around 6:30 a.m. every day.
2. Wash the cow: The family selection and training process for Gift Catalog animals is amazing. Training includes instructions to wash the cow before milking it to keep the udders and milk sanitary, and to keep the cow free of tics and other bugs. I am no cow professional, but Chooti is beautiful with a perfect coat of hair.
3. Squat: Irangani doesn’t have a stool. She squatted throughout the entire milking process. Talk about sore knees and back!
4. One udder at a time: Irangani methodically milked each udder. Chooti is a bit shy around new people but is completely comfortable with her “mother.”
5. More milk: When it seemed like Chooti was done providing milk, the father brought over the youngest baby calf, and her motherly instinct kicked in as the baby started suckling. She produced more milk, and Irangani milked each udder all over again!
6. Keeping it clean: Irangani milked into a small container, and once each container was full, she uncapped the larger container to pour it in, recap, and continue milking into newly empty containers.
7. Talk about fresh: After she finishes milking, Irangani takes the milk to a collection center, about a five-minute walk from her house. About 20 families bring milk to this center for the company Milco for daily pick-up. World Vision organized local resources and families with cows to encourage Milco to make a worthwhile pick-up in their area. Without this coordination, Irangani’s five-minute walk would be a day long ride!
8. Don’t cheat: The milk is weighed and tested at the milk collection center to ensure that it is good quality and not watered down. Milco pays Irangani bimonthly, based on total volume of milk provided and quality of samples from each visit.
After meeting Chooti the cow and learning about the amazing impact she has had on her new family, I am asking my husband for a dairy cow on my 30th birthday on December 1.
Want to get and give gifts too big for a box and a bow for your birthday or for Christmas? You can! Check out my birthday page, and consider making your own!
Stay tuned on Facebook for more opportunities to vote on what our team in Sri Lanka will do next.
Follow Kirsten and team on their quest to discover the true spirit of Christmas.
This Christmas, give a gift that’s too big for a box and bow. Give a gift from World Vision’s Gift Catalog.