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Llama donation teaches class about self reliance

This llama is similar to two llamas purchased by Pam Muncey’s fifth-grade class through Heifer International for a village in Peru. The class takes the reluctant llama, Cappey, for a walk in its pasture. - Gayle Saran
This llama is similar to two llamas purchased by Pam Muncey’s fifth-grade class through Heifer International for a village in Peru. The class takes the reluctant llama, Cappey, for a walk in its pasture.
— image credit: Gayle Saran

A fifth-grade class learned an important lesson recently. The lesson is that with a little help, people can become more self-reliant.

Pam Muncey, a teacher at South Whidbey Intermediate School, wanted her class to learn a lesson in compassion and charity, a lesson that fit into the class’ study of South America.

With a little encouragement from Muncey, the class became involved with Heifer International, an organization that provides domestic animals — including cows, chickens, goats and llamas — to people in 128 different countries. Animals given out by the program are intended to be raised for food or to generate agricultural products for sale. Muncey’s class decided to purchase llamas for a South American family.

To earn money for the purchase, the class sold raffle tickets for an afghan they knitted with Peruvian wool, then dyed with KoolAid. The class sold $1 raffle tickets for the brightly colored afghan. Class members collected $370, enough for two llamas and perhaps a few chickens.

The animals will be sent to the area in Peru from which they acquired the yarn for the afghan.

Taylor Todd, one of the students in Muncey’s class, said choosing particular animals to donate took time.

“We could have given them lots of stuff but we decided on llamas,” he said.

Another member of the class, Garret Thomson, said giving llamas to others who use fleece made sense, since the fundraiser for the purchase was based on the sale of a wool afghan.

Donors contact the Heifer International Foundation to learn where there is a need for livestock. The price of the animals represents a complete livestock gift of a quality animal, technical assistance and training for caring for animas from representatives of the foundation. Heifer International was founded in 1944 and has provided assistance in 128 countries and 38 states, helping millions of people feed, clothe and provide for their families. Costs of animals range from $120 for a sheep, goat or pig, $60 for a flock of chickens ducklings and goslings, llamas are $150 each, bees $30 and water buffalo are $250 apiece.

According to information from Heifer International, llama herds in Peru have been weakened by decades of inbreeding. The herds are beginning to recover because of the animals like the two supplied by South Whidbey students through Heifer International. The animals are supplied from herds in other nations.

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