A quarter of a million dollars!!! Every year students from West Texas A&M gather together on the campus lawn for an event called Shackathon. Campus ministries, fraternities, sororities, clubs, and all kinds of groups build shacks. And to identify with poverty in the world, they sleep in these shacks made of cardboard and pallets.  As the years have gone by, the shacks get more intriguing and have resulted in competitions for the best shacks. 

Connected to Shackathon is Give-a-Goat.  The students raise money to buy goats to help people in the desert of Turkana. These goats provide milk for nourishment and so much more. And can you believe it? In the eleven years of this event, they have raised over a quarter of a million dollars to buy goats. I personally want to thank Kent Mereness and other campus ministers for heading this up over the years. And I certainly want to thank all the students who have sacrificed sleeping in beds and their money to give a goat.

Elizabeth Obonge from the Elelea community in Turkana received a goat three years ago. Her goat multiplied many times. This year she sold five goats to buy food and save her family from bad hunger. With two other goats she paid school fees for her child in secondary school.  And she still has more goats all coming from the one goat she was given.

Joseph Emeng received a goat which also multiplied into many other goats. He got injured and needed money for medical treatment. He sold some goats and settled his medical bill. Joseph wouldn’t be alive if someone hadn’t given him a goat.

Many families regard the goats we give as security for a lot of things—paying school fees, acquiring food, building houses, and buying clothing. Since there are no banks, goats are like a savings account. Through the gift of goats, many women have been empowered to save their children and their community at large.

Goats average $50 at the auction where we buy them. We deliver them on our truck where we usually haul pipe for drilling. Some of my fondest memories are taking goats off of our truck and giving them to a family. 

Twelve years ago, Bob Shepard had a good idea. It developed into Shackathon.  And look at all the people who have been saved. Maybe you have a good idea too. Go for it. Or join Bob’s and give a goat.