Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ethiopia & The Wild, Wild West

This morning on Skype I was able to listen to Erika and Christy play a very inspiring piano and flute duet that they are going to perform for the Relief Society in Church this Sunday.  I am so grateful that they have developed their talents to the point that they can touch others' lives with their music, especially mine. {Note from Erika: I included this personal detail because I think that it is so amazing that Lonny was able to listen to us play this live, in real time, even though he is half-a-world away. This is the way we, as a family, are able to deal with his long absences. With modern technology, and a little effort on our part, we are able to feel part of his work, and he is able to feel part of our lives, despite the distance. We are able to visit with him nearly daily, and it is a huge blessing for us.}


I loaded up my gear and headed to the gas station to meet Eddy.  He and I had a great discussion as we drove to meet with the dairyman he had told me about yesterday. We talked about our families, Ethiopia, the LDS and Jewish religions, and education.  He was just married a few months ago, and his wife is with him here in Ethiopia.  She is studying psychology.  As we talked, I felt that he would benefit from reading the Book of Mormon, so I took the one from my pack and wrote a little introduction in it and presented it to him. I really had an enjoyable time talking with him.


We went to Ami Ariel's farm, west of Holeta.  Ami is a successful Israeli farmer that has decided to come and teach the Ethiopians how to efficiently grow vegetables.  He has drilled a well and installed a drip irrigation system for his farm.  He has also constructed a chicken raising facility, a green house, a processing center for the broilers, and has refrigerated containers for storing the broilers.  He has made a simple, efficient and modern operation where he can instruct Ethiopians how to better raise food in large quantities.  I was very impressed with him as a person and with his operation. 


This afternoon I wanted to unwind and relax, so I looked through the movies here at the office and found a couple to watch.  I first enjoyed The Shootist with John Wayne, and then watched The Sackets. As I watched these movies, I thought about the type of men it took to settle the old west.  In a sense, Ethiopia has some of the same challenges as the Americans had back then, as there are many people fighting day-to-day just to survive.  The American west was built upon the backs of people who weren't satisfied with just living.  They wanted to make life better for themselves, and more importantly, for those who would follow.  That is what is needed now in this country, men and women who will stretch past the cultural norms and past their comfort zones, and do new, "out-of-the-box" things that will propel their society forward into a time of prosperity.  The resources are here, they just need to be developed and properly utilized. {Our hope is that we can be a part of helping them with this effort.} 


I had a good talk with Joe Morrell tonight.  He is busy working on getting all of the newly-purchased farms here up and running.  They are trying to finalize the contracts on the land, and get the equipment selected and purchased. It is fun to see things starting to come together with all of our many projects. 

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