The Chill(er)

Well, it isn’t every day you end up touring a Chiller with a few folks from the US State Department and head office of USAID.

You see, I needed to be in Polonnaruwa on Tuesday and Wednesday last week to work with two businesses.  Given the logistics of moving groups of people around the country in a limited number of vehicles, I joined them for a few days starting in Trincomalee, on the east coast.

It’s how I ended up at this chilling station about an hour inland from the coast.

It’s mostly women that tend to the cows and buffalo, grow the vegetables etc while the men are working in the paddy fields.  Especially being in the tropics, animals’ milk can’t be sold to a dairy unless it can be chilled when stored prior to collection.

Partnering with one of the large dairy companies, a chiller was installed on a local property that allows farmers to milk their animals twice a day, not only in the morning but also now in the evening because of this chiller.  Along with the provision of hygiene training and improving fodder management, the quality of the milk has been significantly improved.

Double click any of the photos to zoom in for more detail.


Milking the animals twice a day along with such high quality milk, has doubled the income of most farmers we spoke to that day.  That’s pretty impressive.

When asked what it would take to triple their milk yield, they said a better breed of milking cow.  Jersey cows apparently do well in the tropics.  They are less susceptible to disease, can handle the tropical temperatures well and need less food to produce the same amount of fat and protein in milk.

Who knew?!  I’ll keep an eye out and let you know if I see any (but first I have to find out what a Jersey cow looks like).

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In the past two years, my work in Nepal has expanded to the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation and the Spinal Cord Injured Network Nepal. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in the north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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2 Responses to The Chill(er)

  1. Bill G says:

    Hi, Kate: Thanks for your ongoing udates – all very interesting. This latest is very ironic. I don’t know whether you have heard back from anyone else on Bowen – we are in a deep chiller, with very heavy snow last week (brought down some large branches from my trees) and the snow is staying – still snowing on Saturday with the temperature resolutely staying below 0c during the day and much colder at night. I dug a small path in to my side door and spent my time cleaning up the fallen limbs, but much more work to do when the snow finally melts. The roads are predictably a mess and even the 257 had difficulty getting to and from Horseshoe Bay last Friday. While it looks like Christmas and the kids on the street are having a great time, enough for now. Much love to you. Bill

    On Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 3:15 AM, Bowen to Bangladesh wrote:

    > Kate Coffey posted: “Well, it isn’t every day you end up touring a Chiller > with a few folks from the US State Department and head office of USAID. You > see, I needed to be in Polonnaruwa on Tuesday and Wednesday last week to > work with two businesses. Given the logistics of” >

    • Kate Coffey says:

      Lovely to hear from you Bill. I have been following the deep freeze in the Lower Mainland and on Bowen – definitely climate change at work. Keep safe, no climbing on the roof to take off fallen limbs please!! Wait for the melt, the day will come. xo

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