Trials and Blessings

We drove up to Kokosa again today. Teddy tried to get us a 4wd vehicle to drive, but he wasn’t able to get one. His friend that has one just leased it out for a month. But he is getting good at driving on slick muddy roads, so we made it all the way up there without getting stuck at all. Unfortunately, as we were driving across the pasture, Teddy found a narrow deep ditch and the van dropped into it. It took us an hour to jack it up and dig it out. I mentioned to Chris that I had the impression to have Teddy stop so that I could walk out in front of him and check the ground, but did not do anything about it. He said that the same thought had crossed his mind. It doesn’t do us any good to pray for guidance if we don’t follow it.
On the positive side, the country in Kokosa is breathtaking, the first half of the day was beautiful with fluffy clouds floating across the sky, and the sun was out, making it the perfect temperature. Kokosa is just so lush and green and naturally beautiful. It is like paradise up there. I wish it were only an hour’s drive from Genola. The drive up didn’t seem as long this time. I talked with Chris on the way up about our families and our work. He is a good man and I’m very grateful that he is here to help with this project. We spent much of the drive back discussing our options for the Kokosa farm. I have had to change my whole thought process to try and decide how to build this dairy. Many of the rules that would apply in America don’t apply here.

We were very disappointed with the response of the heifers to the synchronization protocol. Of the ten Boran heifers, only one of them qualified to be an embryo recipient. This was most likely due to the fact that they were thin when we bought them three weeks ago, so they are not cycling reproductively. We had a similar problem at Adamitulu although not as severe, probably because those animals had been on good feed at the center for almost two months.

We only inseminated 22 of the 90 Arsi heifers. Dr Kolste and I palpated the majority of the heifers and found many of them not cycling. These heifers have been on good grass and are supposed to be three to five years old. I am not sure why they would not be cycling and respond to our hormone treatment. Dr. Kolste and I will be doing some research to understand the Arsi cattle better so that we can decide how to proceed from here.

At about 3:00pm, the thunder started rumbling in the distance and black rain clouds came rolling in. I prayed that we would be passed over. It rained on us a little bit but for the most part it just rained around us. I think that God had mercy on us after our last experience working in the rain all day. :) But the roads were slick going out. Between the road improvements by Abera’s crew, and Teddy’s skilled driving, we made it out after only getting stuck once. The villagers are really good to help us get out. We will be prepared for the next time. Paul has ordered a 4wd vehicle for up there and Abera will have more time to work on the road.

As we were driving home, we stopped in a town to buy fuel. The power had been off in Shashamene that morning, so Teddy had not been able to top off his tank and he was worried that we might not have enough gasoline to get back. There was no gas station to speak of. He just parked on the main road and told us he & Abera would be back in five minutes. While they went to get fuel, Chris and I sat in the van and quickly attracted a crowd. The children gathered around the van while the adults stared at us from a distance. The few words that we knew in Oromo didn’t last long, and only two of them spoke any English at all.

It didn’t take long for several of them to start begging for money. “Give me money” is a common command that you hear. It really saddens me how they are so accustomed to begging to get something for nothing. I told Chris that this was exactly the opposite of the attitude of the early settlers in America that would, in some cases, prefer to starve than to accept charity. That is why America became so great. People took charge of their own lives, and their own destiny, and were passionate about being self sufficient. Over and over again, I see problems in the society here that could easily be solved if someone would just take charge and do it. It will be interesting to see how the light of the gospel shines on this country. I am very grateful that I was raised in a home where I was taught that I had the ability to do anything that I wanted to do.

After what seemed like a lot longer than five minutes, Teddy & Abera came back carrying a five liter jug of fuel. We cut up a water bottle to use as a funnel, poured in the fuel, and were on our way again. I was very glad to pull in safe to the Lilly of the Valley hotel. I suggested that we have a prayer to thank the Lord for our safe trip. Abera offered the prayer in Oromo. It was really cool.