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Winrock International

Volunteer Post

October Volunteer of the Month

Winrock’s October Volunteer of the Month is Dr. Archie Devore, a dairy expert who completed a USAID Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) assignment in Nepal earlier this year. Archie is one of those individuals that doesn’t just work on his assignment and then go back to “business as usual” at home. Case in point: he raised $1200 to support a young man in Nepal after the massive earthquake in April.

“I started getting email and Facebook messages from my contacts in Nepal within six hours of the tragic earthquake that occurred on April 25. Some were from the staff at Winrock, but most were from my host and the young men that I worked with while on assignment. I was particularly touched by messages from Uddab Dahal, the young man who served me meals while I was staying at the Himalayan Horizons Hotel during the assignment,” Archie explains.

“He wrote me that he lost his house and his parents also lost their house in the earthquake. He sent me photos of the rubble that had been his home and mentioned that they had no way of rebuilding. I wrote him back and asked if I could send him some money to help build some kind of protection from weather. I sent money and was touched that Western Union had waived all fees to wire money to Nepal due to the earthquake. I had been getting many messages from my Facebook and local friends about what I knew about the situation there. I decided to post a message on Facebook, where I showed a photo of Uddab and me at the Hotel, and a photo showing the rubble of a house that had been his home. Within minutes, I had messages from my Facebook friends asking if they could send money to me for Uddab. In total, $1200 were raised over the weekend, and I sent all the money to Uddab. He was so appreciative and responded with a message, ‘You are very far, but you are in our hearts.’”

The generosity of Archie and his friends didn’t stop there.

Archie reveals, “My wife participates in a quilting group at our church, where they make quilts for missions and other sewing projects. They had just completed a crib-sized quilt while I was in Nepal. I asked if they would like to send it to Nepal. We sent the quilt to Uddab via parcel post, and it arrived there within two weeks after the earthquake. Uddab had a daughter just four months of age. He sent a photo of his daughter wrapped in the quilt, and this has touched many hearts in our church community.”

Beyond helping Uddab and his family, Archie has also maintains frequent communication with his host organization and the youth farmers who participated in his training.

We asked Archie to share his first impressions of Nepal and the most inspiring/memorable moment of his assignment. His responses have left us inspired!

“This was my first trip to Nepal. The warm welcome I received upon arriving in Nepal made a great impression on me. The people were very welcoming and expressed a special welcome to me with their eagerness to learn and to share with me while I was there,” he explains.

“This assignment was a good opportunity for me to share my experiences from working nearly 50 years in the dairy industry and to continue to bring new ideas to others around the world about how technology can make our lives more productive and rewarding.  I am always impressed with the creativity shown by workers in developing countries in solving problems and how receptive they are to learning new ideas from others. The respect they show and the willingness to implement and try new things is extremely rewarding and satisfying. I learn from every new assignment and find great satisfaction from helping others become more efficient in their efforts and labors.

The most pleasing part of the assignment was that I could present new ideas and practices to the students in a lecture or classroom setting and then we could go to the barns to apply the ideas and practices. Then the next day we could discuss how the practice worked for them, if they had any questions, encountered any problems, and if they would continue to apply the new ideas or practices. On the first day I noticed the students were not applying normal hand milking techniques. I explained why it is important to have clean, dry hands while milking to prevent contamination and spread organisms from one cow to another. The following day they reported their hands were sore, but they would continue to practice the new technique. They became quite proficient with it before the end of the assignment.”

Archie goes on his next F2F assignment in February, this time to Bangladesh. We look forward to seeing what he will accomplish there!