Thursday, November 5, 2009

Debre Zeyit & the Genesis Dairy

I have been sleeping much better lately. I think a lot of the stress is behind me now that these projects are underway. I also sleep better when I'm away from the crowded city life of Addis. I am so grateful for this, because it was very hard for me to function during the day when I didn't get enough sleep.

We met with the team at Adami Tulu to discuss the recipient animals' feed and condition situation. Many of the heifers are too small or too thin to use as recipients, and we discussed the ways to resolve some of the pre-existing problems that we are dealing with. We understand each other's perspectives better after our discussion. Now we just need to work out the best solution that will make it a win-win situation for both sides.

We drove north to Debre Zeyit for the open house of a new feed mill. It is an impressive structure that will really improve agriculture here, if the farmers will use the products. The owners of the mill provided a buffet lunch and some native dancing for entertainment. The native dancing is quite unique. The dancers sort of jerk their shoulders or head or whichever part of their body they are focusing on. In one dance, one of the ladies spun her head around so fast that you are sure that it is going to fall off at any time!

We stopped in at the research center to see how everything was going. The animals hadn't shown any sign of heat yet, but it was still a day early. They took us on a tour of their milk barn. It was a lot like my family's milk barn in Malad, except a couple of stalls bigger. Many of the stall gates were broken, so they had to be opened and closed manually. But inexpensive labor allows farmers to just use the labor of a human being to deal with the problem each day, instead of fixing the thing that is broken. It is definitely an interesting culture. (The picture above is of the milk stalls at the research facility in Debre Zeyit.)

We stopped in at the dairy at Genesis Farms and met with Girma. I invited him to come and see the embryo recovery and transfer next week. Their cows are looking very good. They have some cows giving as much as 26 liters of milk a day which is much better than the national average of 5. Their herd average right now is 15 liters/day. Genesis farm also has the feel of quality workmanship in their entire place. This may be the influence of the American and Dutch owners. They keep the grounds looking very nice and have made a cobblestone road from the main road to their farm.

(Above is a picture of me in front of the Genesis Farm fields.)

Tonight we will stay in the Addis house. I much prefer the house to a hotel. I can relax better and cook my own meals. Wesson is a great cook and will often cook something for us that fits our bodies better than most Ethiopian food. It is very relaxing to be at the house.

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