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January 01, 2022

As we close 2021, I'd love to share with you a story from an investor that gives a wonderful picture of the change we are seeing in our community. 

"On my first visit to Dignity in 2014, I was amazed by the unchanged beauty and lifestyle of the remote coastline and villages. Everywhere I looked was either coconut trees or rice paddies. 
 
That's when I saw my first Carabao (keh·ruh·bau) and its boy. The Carabao is the Philippines‘ water buffalo, and on small farms, it is their tractor, truck, and more. But what caught my attention about them was tethered to a young boy.

It wasn’t clear whether the Carabao or the boy was in charge. If they were moving, either one might be in the lead. If they were still, it was fun to see where the boy would be.
 
I saw boys sitting, lying, and even standing on their Carabaos’ backs; laying and sitting under them in their shadows; and leaning against a leg like it was a backrest. I thought water buffalo were dangerous, but these were always very close and tethered to young boys.
Carabao and Young Boy Harvesting Coconuts in Philippines

I don’t recall seeing one without its boy.

On my last visit, I was jogging in the morning and heard an unusual bellowing sound I had not heard before. Trees and a hill hid the source of the sound until I was right next to it: a Carabao.

It was staked to the ground with a 15-foot rope. It was bellowing loudly, straining hard against the rope, and looping back and forth in a half-circle while its eyes locked on something in the distance.

I looked in the direction the Carabao was focused and saw a school about a quarter of a mile away. I traced the well-worn path through the rice paddies and sure enough, there was a young boy on his way to school.

I don’t know if it was the Carabao’s boy, but it sure thought so. I've seen many pet dogs distressed over their boy leaving the house, but none compared to this. 

My immediate response was sadness until I realized the boy couldn’t go to school unless he left his Carabao. And increased educational attainment was one of the community’s key transforming achievements.
Carabao licking nose
The intentionally empowering work of organizations, including Dignity, and many other factors, including Carabao temporarily giving up their boys for school, are contributing to the 
ongoing transformation of the community.

And I bet that Carabao was as excited as any pet dog would be when the boy returned, but I can’t even imagine what that would look like. Can you?"
 
-Shawn M, Dignity Coconuts

I'd like to personally extend my gratitude for your role in transforming communities in the Philippines in 2021. Kids are receiving education, families are staying together, physical health is improving, chains of slavery are breaking, and hope is rising. 

Cheers to you and yours this New Year,




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