Monday, November 9, 2009

Land Survey at Kokosa

Today Haven, Mark, Abera and I drove to the Kokosa property. We started at 7:00 am so that we could avoid traffic and arrive early because we had a lot to do. We bought two kgs. of bananas for 12 birr (abt $1.20 U.S.) and some bread and water for 40 birr (about $4.00 U.S.) for breakfast and lunch. The road is better now, and it's easier to travel in a four wheel drive vehicle with good suspension, but it's still a long bumpy ride. It takes two and a half to three hours to get there.

We stopped on the main road just north of the farm. It is probably only three quarters of a mile across to the farm, but there is no road, so you have to drive in a long loop up to a bridge and back down. It takes about 15 minutes. We would like to put a direct road in, but about 400 yards of the way is a swampy area that would be very hard to cross. We are working on solutions for this.

We processed the pregnant arsi heifers and the boran heifers that we are setting up for embryo recipients. We took the tips off their horns, and gave them a shot of insecticide. I was very glad I had Haven and Mark to help with the dehorning, because the chute that we built wasn't the best for holding animals. It took us about an hour to process all of them.

When we finished with the animals, we walked around the perimeter of the farm with Mark's GPS, marking the corners and the altitude at each spot. The farm sits at 8450 feet above sea level. The perimeter of the farm is about five miles, so it was a long walk. It took us almost four hours because we stopped to examine the fence & facilities, and talk about repairs and solution. Now we will be able to make an accurate map of the property. There are dozens of places where the water is seeping out of the hillside, making a bog below it. I think that we can put water troughs in at all of these places, which will provide drinking water for the animals, as well as keeping it from being so muddy. I had my video camera, so I was able to stop and record the lay of the land and the condition of the fences and the buildings. They are all in bad shape and need a lot of work.

As we walked around the property, we had a little parade of 15-20 people following us. The number ebbed and flowed as we went along. It is very interesting how the Ethiopians are so curious about what we are doing. Since they have little of their own work to do, they spend their free time wandering around and observing the work that others are doing. It would be nice if the economy and culture developed enough that all of these people could find things to do to keep themselves busy and productive.

I keep hoping that the road construction crew will hurry up and finish their project. This would make it so much easier for us to get in & out of the Kokosa property. They have several miles of road almost ready, but finishing is taking longer than I had hoped. It's very curious how they finish a couple of miles of road, then skip a couple of miles, then finish another mile or two. I will have to ask why they do it that way.

I was surprised this morning when I called home and found Dad, Mom, and Lyle's family at our home. It turned out that they had come down to listen to two mission reports of some of their Nauvoo mission friends. It was fun to see them, and we had a really nice visit. I am grateful to have such a loving and supportive family. It makes what I am doing here much easier.

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