Some 5,000 chicks, 260 pigs, 100 goats, 37 in-calf heifers and three bulls have made their way to Rwanda from Ireland to help impoverished families. The Bóthar Ark left Ireland on Monday and landed safely in the African country on Tuesday via a stop off in Cairo.

Also on board was 5,000 doses of Bovine Semen for the Rwandan Breeding Programme run by Bóthar’s sister agency Heifer International.

Gavin, who is a qualified pilot, said the cargo of animals would have a life changing impact on the lives of people in Rwanda.

“I’ve been fortunate to have flown throughout the world but this has been a unique experience. Transporting 41t of quality Irish livestock through the night from Ireland to deepest Africa, including a refuelling stop in Cairo, was unprecedented for me.

“But knowing that at the end of it we are bringing this precious cargo, donated by Irish farmers and other Bóthar supporters, to change the lives of almost 800 of the world’s poorest people puts things into perspective. The people behind this are delivering a life-changing gift to these families.

“They are a wonderful team and I’m delighted to play a small part on this project,” he said.

The historic flight is marking the 25th anniversary of the aid agency Bóthar.

Watch Jim Gavin’s journey here

Bóthar CEO Dave Mooney spoke of his relief at making it to Rwanda.

“And here we are. It has been an exhausting journey. We stopped off in Cairo to allow the animals rest up and take on board sufficient food and water and the animals will now be rested before being handed over to the recipient families. It’s all very exciting, not least for those families.”

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