Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Building a Spring in Kokosa

Today Tadesa came at 7:00am (1:00 Ethiopian time) to pick me up. We picked up Abera at his house, then went to the Village of Hope where we implanted an embryo in the milk cow.  I was glad that she is cycling and I hope that she will follow her daughter's lead and be pregnant.  We then looked around the compound.  I was excited to see that a couple of the young men had taken my advice and brought chicken manure over for their gardens.  Two of them were well-weeded and growing nicely.  I gave Mambrat some fruit snacks for the children and some purple carrot seeds.  I think that they will really have fun with them.

We purchased pipe, staples, buckets, and food, and then headed up to Kokosa.  We arrived just after noon, so we unpacked the truck and sat down for our lunch of bread and fruit - simple, but satisfying. 
            
We took a couple of shovels with us and headed down over the hill to find a place to pipe a spring.  Abera showed me a good place and we started digging.  I showed him how to jump on a shovel to get a nice big shovel full of dirt.  The sod is beautiful, rich and dark.  It holds the moisture like a giant sponge.  We dug down about a foot deep.  We hadn't dug very far before a couple of workers came and took the shovels away from us, wanting to relieve us of working. I had to teach them how to use a shovel too.  Abera and I left them working and went to scout out a few other places to put spring fed water troughs.  We stopped at the corrals, and I showed him how I would like to build a shoot and corrals under the shed.  We wandered around and found the cows.  The Holstein heifer looks great, and the steer is growing quickly, much better than they looked when we first purchased them. The Arsi heifers look fantastic and the Boran heifers are starting to shine also.  This is fantastic grazing land. 
            
While we were walking back, we were caught in a heavy downpour.  We took shelter in the dormitory and made plans for the spring while we were waiting out the storm. After the rain slowed, we ran over and grabbed the generator battery and carried it back to the house so we could charge it.  We tried drilling holes in the pipe with our little drill but it took way too long.  Abera got some nails, heated them in a fire and used them to poke holes in the pipe.  It was starting to get dark when we finished with the pipes, so we grabbed the shovels, buckets and duck tape and headed down the hill.  On the way I filled the buckets with gravel that they had for making cement for the fence posts.  We taped the two pipes together and laid them in the trench.  I poured the gravel overtop of the pipe, then filled the trench back in.  We each made a trip up the hill to get buckets full of gravel.  Water was trickling nicely out of the pipe when we finished.  I estimate six to ten gallons an hour - not a lot, but enough to fill a water trough overnight.  Abera was pleasantly surprised.  I think that he had doubts that it would work.
            
It was dark by the time we made it back to the house.  The guards had some corn roasting on the fire for dinner.  It was well done but tasted very good. I love it here in the mountains! The air is fresh and clean. The birds sing like crazy and have an amazing variety of songs.  The people are very friendly and quick to help whenever they can.  It will really be nice when Abera has the garden growing and some fruit trees in.  He will also try a beehive up here, and we'll see how it works. What a beautiful place!

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