Goats for Peace
Goats for Peace is an effort by students at
Morrill Middle School in San Jose, California,
Goat Number Four Bought!
...... ...... ....... ....... ...... ........ ...... ....... ..... ..... .....
June 9, 2012
School is out for the summer and I'm out for good, having retired on June 7.
I took our cans and bottles down to San Jose Metals and got $8 for the cans and $8 for the bottles. That's $16.
to raise money to buy goats for
poor families in African villages.
cans and plastic bottles to recycle
Goats, which cost $120, are purchased and delivered through Heifer International.
All money taken through recycling is sent to Heifer International. No expenses are deducted. All labor, transportation costs, plastic bags, can crushers, etc. are donated. All receipts are posted online.
To contact us,
send email to
followed by a dot
and then com.
Copies of letters we've sent to Heifer International.
No money is asked for or accepted.
All funds are from recycling.
If another teacher at Morrill sponsors the project next year, you can bring in cans and bottles to get the remaining $30.95 to buy Goat Number Five.
Keep me posted!
May 24, 2012
School is winding down and I'm cleaning out the classroom. All the textbooks were returned today and the room is less cluttered. So why not clear out all the cans and plastic bottles? Heck, it's early day. I've got time.
We took in a dozen dollars exactly so now we are just $46.95 away from Goat Number Five..
Can we do it before the end of the school year?
May 7, 2012
Right after school today I shot on over to San Jose Metals to unload several bags of bottles and one bag of cans. It's a pain when I have to take a lot all at once so I thought one quick trip would be a good idea.
We didn't do too bad. We got $20 even. So now we are only $58.95 away from Goat Number Five. That's about 30 lbs of cans or 60 lbs of plastic bottles.
The question is, can we do it by June 7?
April 1, 2012
It was such a bright, beautiful day out today after all of the rain of yesterday, my wife and I took a short ride to San Jose Metals to unload the van of a few bags of bottles.
I was a little worried because PennySaver didn't have a coupon, but we still got the coupon rate of $1.00 per pound.
We had 19 lbs. so now we are only $78.93 away from Goat Number Five.
Reported for 60 Minutes by Bob Simon:
When we stop and think about the forces that have helped shape our lives, many of us can recall a loving parent or a caring teacher, or someone else who encouraged and inspired us and made us what we are today.
But how many of us can
look back and say, "I owe it all to a goat"?
A young African woman by the name of Beatrice Biira can. If it weren’t for her goat, Beatrice wouldn’t have gone to school, wouldn’t have been lifted out of poverty, and wouldn’t have won a scholarship to a college in America.
There are lots of terrible stories coming out of Africa these days, stories about war and tyranny and starvation. This is not one of them.
On a sweltering June afternoon in Uganda, Beatrice, a 19-year-old African woman, comes home to the village of her birth and is immediately engulfed as if she were some long-lost African princess. She's been away for more than a year.
Beatrice’s village, which is called Kisinga, sits nestled in a valley in the western part of Uganda. When most people hear of Uganda, they immediately think of Idi Amin, the strongman who brutalized the country for nearly a decade.
Beatrice remembers being hungry as a child. "There wasn't much food in our fields. And if it was there, it was almost the same meal every other day. Like you eat cassava or sweet potatoes in the afternoon and in the evening. And, I must say that we were hungry," she says.
And yet, despite going hungry and not having much hope for the future, she later found herself on the campus of an exclusive American prep school. Last year, she was a student at Northfield Mt. Hermon, in northern Massachusetts.
How did she get there? How did she manage to pull off such an improbable journey? 60 Minutes traveled a long way to find out.
The equator runs right across the country road that leads to Beatrice's home. You can stand in both hemispheres. Beatrice's life has become something like that in the last few years. She's had one foot in the African bush, and the other in New England -- all because of a goat.
"It is through selling the goat's milk that I was able to [go to school]," says Beatrice, who owes her good fortune to a goat and a charity in Little Rock, Ark., called Heifer International.
Heifer International is known for its work distributing livestock to poor families all over the world.
In 1991, Heifer introduced 12 goats to 12 families in Kisinga. Beatrice’s family was lucky enough to be among them.
Along with the goats, Heifer sent a cameraman to Kisinga to shoot film of young Beatrice’s life. At 9, she was performing adult chores, and yearning desperately to attend school. But her family, one of the poorest in Kisinga, just couldn't afford it.
It seemed as though Beatrice would always be on the outside looking in. But she says she kept bugging her parents: "I was very impassioned. Want to go to school. I really wanted to go to school."
Enter her goat. The Heifer goats are bred to produce prodigious amounts of milk. After struggling for years just to feed her kids, Beatrice’s mother was able to sell enough goat’s milk to finally send Beatrice, then 10, to the local school.
From there, she won a scholarship to a high school in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. Then, she went on to prep school in New England, where it turns out, her biggest adjustment was winter.
"[It was] ridiculously cold. It was really cold. Like negative 30 degrees," recalls Beatrice. "And 20 inches of snow. That has never occurred to me in my life."
But seasons change, and for the first time in her life, Beatrice learned how to play tennis. She might never make it to Wimbledon, but she’s pretty smart and won an award for general excellence. Not bad for a kid who grew up with her parents and seven brothers and sisters in a tin-roofed shack in Africa, with an outhouse nearby.
Did the American kids have any idea where she was from? Or what kind of life she lived before going to school?
"No, they didn't know. Most of them actually look at me and maybe thought I was African-American. So, I started to tell them my story. I didn't tell all of it, but I told them I grew up in a very, very poor village. And, I'm trying to transition from that kind of life to this one," says Beatrice.
"They were very good. But most of them were amazed, really amazed at my story."
Beatrice took 60 Minutes to her old school, the one she couldn’t afford to attend until that goat came into her life. She says the school hasn’t changed much since she went there.
In fact, it looks as though it hasn’t changed in a century. There are hardly any books or pencils. And they still teach kids how to weave straw mats. It’s a skill that Beatrice is still pretty good at. But then again, she was a natural at everything in school.
She says it didn't take long for her to catch up with other kids her age. "I was very eager to go to school," recalls Beatrice. "Even when I got there, I made sure that I did extra work, extra homework, extra help, how to read, how to write. And I made it pretty quick."
Beatrice made it all the way to Connecticut College on a scholarship.
Having tasted the good life at prep school in America, Beatrice remains grateful, but not seduced. Despite her success in this country, she says she’ll never abandon Africa.
"There's so much poverty here. There's AIDS. There are so many wars. And you're in a position to escape it. Do you want to escape it," asks Simon. "To escape all the hardship of Africa?"
"I'm not trying to run away from all of these hardships," says Beatrice. "What I'm talking about is having the necessary things that you would need to live comfortably and survive. That's what matters to me."
In Beatrice’s world, goats are for sharing. You get a goat, and you share your goat’s offspring with one of your neighbors. It’s done in a ritual called “Passing on the Gift.”
60 Minutes witnessed that ritual in Kisinga. The descendants of Heifer’s original 12 goats were being passed from families lucky enough to have had them to other families in desperate need.
Once, Beatrice was on the receiving end of this charity, and she’s not about to forget it. What is her dream 10 years from now?
"I would love to see myself forming maybe a school for children who are disadvantaged," says Beatrice.
"Or maybe an orphanage, and maybe a farm with cows or goats, and giving those children milk. And I'd love to see them get healthier, all by my work."
With all the money donated to help fight famine around the world, with all the grandiose plans conceived to conquer poverty, sometimes all it takes to save a child is a goat. If you don’t believe that, come to Kisinga.
February 21, 2012
Students have been bringing in cans and bottles from home and some teachers have set up collection bins in their classrooms. That's great because today we're over the top! We can purchase Goat Number Four!
With 29 lbs of bottles, we got $26.97. With 6 lbs of cans, we got $12.00. That comes to $38.97.
We are now $22.07 on our way to
Goat Number Five!
Only $97.93 to go!
January 2, 2012
It's been a long time since I made the trip to San Jose Metals with donations. I put it off for too long. I could barely fit all the cans and bottles into my van. It being winter break, I figured I'd have more time to do it.
I packed the van and went over to their 10th Street location, but the place was packed. Lots and lots of people were there. Maybe it's the economy. I don't know. But I drove back there five times before I found it uncrowded enough to unload it all.
For several days, my van had the sticky, sweet smell of stale Orange Crush.
We had 7 lbs of cans and that gave us $14. We had 54 lbs of plastic bottles and that gave us $54. Our take was a total of $68.
That makes our new balance $103.10 which means we are only $16.90 shy of Goat Number Four.
June 15, 2011
I was on my way to San Jose Metals a couple weeks ago but I forgot to clip the coupon from PennySavers. That's a mistake I made once and I'm not going to repeat it. But I had to wait because the PennySavers got thrown away with the junk mail. Ah, but with coupon in hand I drove over there today and got my hands nice and sticky from some last minute sorting. We had 4 pounds of cans and 20 pounds of plastic bottles. That came out to $26.60. Added to the $8.50 we already have, our new balance comes to $35.10.
That puts us exactly $84.90 away from Goat Number Four.
Save your cans and bottles over the summer and maybe we can get Goat Number Four during the first week of school.
April 30, 2011
We finally did it! We now have the bucks to buy Goat Number Three!
I took 92 pounds of glass bottles over to San Jose Metals today and got $9.57 for them. Oh boy. That's a lot of weight for so little money, so that's why we discourage glass, but how nice it is to go over the mark and finally get another goat for a family in Africa!
Time for the math.
$9.57 subtract $1.07 leaves us a balance of $8.50.
The check goes in the mail for Goat Number Three tomorrow so now it's on to Goat Number Four!
April 19, 2011
This time I was smart enough to find a coupon in Penny Savers. I got twice as much for the cans this time.
Please, no more glass bottles! I hauled in 31 pounds of those smelly, clanky things and I got only $3.22 for them. Not worth it!
The ten pounds of cans brought in $20.00 and the 25 pounds of plastic bottles brought in $23.25 for a grand total of $46.47.
That gives us a balance of $118.93, only $1.07 shy of goat number three! That sure is close!
The next time we take our trip to San Jose Metals, all we'll need is a half pound of cans, a few plastic bottles and it we'll be three for the year.
Don't bother offering to kick in the remaining $1.07 because our policy of accepting no cash is super strict.
We'll take aluminum cans, clear plastic beverage bottles, and a roll or two of those clear plastic garbage bags that they seem to sell only Costco. Since I don't have a Costco card, donations of those clear bags are greatly appreciated.
Let's see. If your teacher would like to have a Goats For Peace collection box in his/her classroom, that would be nice. Make one and I'll give you a couple of posters to put on it.
If you'd like to crush the cans and bottles and separate them, that would be a big help.
You don't need a can crusher to crush aluminum cans. Just flatten them out by stepping on them.
Most water bottles these days are so thin, you can roll them up like a tube of toothpaste. After you do that, put the cap back on to maintain vacuum. Also, the weight the cap helps us get a higher return.
What about those thicker bottles like they have for drinks like Gatoraid? Take off the cap, smash it with your feet the best you can, and then put the cap back on. They won't compact as well as the water bottles, but a decrease in bulk makes it easier to haul to the recycling center.
And if you see a few drops of liquid in the bottle, take the time to drain it out completely! Liquid adds to the weight and recyclers want to get an accurate reading.
Beware that collecting, sorting and smashing can get your hands all gunky, but hands can be washed and this is a good cause.
It's really nice to see students go out of their way to deposit their drink containers in the Goats For Peace boxes and it's super nice to see students bring cans and bottles from home.
It's good to help people. In fact, is there anything better?
February 12, 2011 -- 5PM
It was just too sunny today. I couldn't wait.
So I did some more sorting and took 17 lbs. of plastic bottles and 35 lbs. of glass and they gave me $19.45.
That makes our new balance $72.46 so we are now just $47.54 away from getting Goat Number Three.
February 12, 2011
I just made another run to the recycling center. I didn't take everything because it hasn't all been sorted out yet. But I thought I'd take over a few bags today. I got $25.11 for the plastic bottles and $12.00 for the cans.
Now it's time to do some math.....
$15.90 and $37.11 comes to our current balance now: $53.01.
That means we're $66.99 away from goat number three.
Some details on the cash-in. I went to San Jose Metals and the receipt is number 1306564. I'll scan it and post it on the site some time next week.
If I go again tomorrow with a few more bags, that will get us closer but probably not over the top....yet.
November 7, 2010
Good gosh, we did it again!
Tomorrow we buy Goat Number Two!
And we did this well before Christmas, well before Thanksgiving!
our balance will be $15.90 for Goat Number Three.
November 6, 2010
It is About More Than Just Test Scores
It is unfortunate that we spend a lot of our time being judged by artificial numbers we call test scores when there is so much more going on that is as important as these scores. This week I would like to share a really neat thing going on in ....[a] classroom at Morrill Middle School. Since the beginning of the year ....[they have] had a cardboard box in the front of ....[the] classroom. Students have been encouraged to recycle their water bottles in this box with the purpose of raising enough money through recycling to buy a goat for a poor African village through goatsforpeace.com.
This weekend .... [their teacher made his] third trip to the recycling center and with the money they got for the bottles finally reached their goal of $120, enough to buy their first goat for one of those villages. In fact, because of the recycling efforts .... they are over halfway towards funding a second goat.
...."My students are pleased, and whoever gets the goat will be pleased too!”
School and teaching is about so much more than just the test scores. It is about making a difference in people’s lives, it is about building an understanding in our students of their place and responsibilities in our world, and it is about making a difference.
....[This] class has done all of those things. Let’s not forget that this is also the important work we do in education along with our job of helping students be successful learners, get great test scores and good grades.
Dr. Marc Liebman
Oct. 31, 2010
We made it!
Tomorrow we buy our first goat!!!
I made a trip to San Jose Metals again. My van couldn't hold another bag. It was stuffed. Well, it could have held two more bags but my wife wanted to go with me.
We had three bags of cans and about 10 bags of plastic bottles.
Erik, Alan, Dan and others from the neighborhood of Naglee Park donated bags of cans and Mrs. Fuqua has given us several trunkfuls of plastic bottles.
That means we can now buy our first goat!!!!
Our goat fund comes to $185.52.
Tomorrow we send heifer.org a check for $120.00 and that leaves us $65.52 toward Goat Number Two.
Just $54.48 more to go before we can buy Goat Number Two!
It took me about a billion hours to separate the cans from the bottles. Hmmm. We're going to have to think of a better system.
San Jose Metals paid 92 cents a pound for the plastic bottles and $1.80 a pound for the cans. We had 58 pounds of bottles and 18 pounds of cans.
Please be sure that only clear plastic bottles are donated. The won't accept other kinds. Oh, and be sure they're empty! There shouldn't even be a drop of liquid in them.
Sept. 2, 2010
Some students are bringing in massive amounts of bottles and cans from home. This is wonderful. At this rate, we'll be able to provide several goats this year.
August 26, 2010
Morrill students are donating a lot of cans and bottles and it looks like Morrill's first goat will be on its way in just a couple of weeks.
They cost $500. Individual classes may take on individual goals in addition to the school-wide project of providing goats.
The story of how a goat changed the life of a girl in Uganda named Beatrice can be found on line by clicking here to see the archive on the piece that 60 Minutes produced.
All animals are purchased and delivered through heifer.org.
March 17, 2010
I just got back from San Jose Metals on N. 10th St. They gave me $29.76 for bottles and $30.00 for cans. That adds up to $59.76. (Cans were going for $2 per lbs and bottles were 93 cents per lbs.)
So, our goat fund now totals $99.76.
We are just short $20.24 of purchasing our first goat.
Friday, June 12, 2009
It's the last day of school. I filled my van with all of the cans and plastic water bottles we collected since January and took it over to Danny's Recycling in Santa Clara.
We got $31 for the water bottles and $9 for the cans. That adds up to $40. We are now a third of the way toward buying a goat. Goats cost $120.
Here's a list of animals and how much they would cost:
Forty dollars down, eighty more to go, before we give some needy a family in some far off country the welcome gift of a cute little, milk-producing goat.
If you can, save cans and bottles during the summer and bring them to the classroom on the first day of school in August. Let's get that goat!
And then what? Maybe a cow? ? ?
Well, we'll cross that pasture when we come to it.
Save your cans! Save your bottles! Let's make a difference!
Robert Wright, English teacher, whose email address is:
goatsforpeace followed by the at symbol and then followed by RoomC6.com.
Singing in Kisinga: