Equipment plea as farm school breaks new ground
Irish volunteers who recently built a milking parlour in Africa are calling on Irish farmers to give the project an extra helping hand by donating farm equipment.
Paul Connolly, who is an optometrist in Cavan town, was part of a team of eight who travelled to Burkina Faso in West Africa in late December to build a milking parlour at the Complexe Agricole Temuwe farm school.
The seeds of the project began when Paul joined the Economy of Communion, which is an organisation that allows businesses help projects in developing countries. Four years ago Paul met Fr Expedit Gnoumou who told him about efforts being made in Burkina Faso to develop a farm school.
“I met Fr Gnoumou and he told me about the work that was being done at a farm school over there. He told me that farming was very old-fashioned and traditional over there and that people looked down on it,” says Paul.
“This stuck with me as farming was like that in Ireland in the past. I could see that he was really eager about the project and that made me want to get involved.”
Paul Connolly and the group of volunteers from Cavan, Meath and Dublin, including farmer and builder, Kevin Costello, spent seven out of their 10 days in Africa building the five-unit milking parlour with a local team.
“It was great we had Kevin because he knew what he was doing. The local lads were very strong. Without them we wouldn’t have had a hope of getting it done so fast,” says Paul.
“They looked after us so well there too, for a country that’s the second poorest in the world they were great to keep the food coming for us.”