Meeting with the Kabeli Leaders at Kokosa

This morning we woke up in Kokosa to a cool 46 degree chill. It gets quite a bit colder up here at 8400 feet than in other parts of Ethiopia. Luckily, I had double the mattress and double the blankets as last time I was up here, which helped me have a much better night's sleep.

We loaded the supplies in the truck and headed for the corrals. The herders already had the Boran heifers separated out for us, another instance that shows that the Ethiopians desire to work hard once they know what to do.  I prepared the syringes, while Abera doctored one of the Boran heifers that was sick.  We gave the two Holsteins a shot of Ivomec and put tags in their ears. Three of the four Boran heifers had really good heats and good CL's so I implanted them with embryos. I think that by next time, the rest of the heifers will be ready for embryos. It went very smoothly, now that Abera and the crew have learned how to quickly and quietly work the cattle through the shoot. 

We checked the horizontal well pipe and found that it had a small but steady flow of 10 gallons/hour.  We put a bucket underneath it, and set a timer to see how long it took to fill up, to measure the flow. Abera will build a water trough there next week. We have identified half a dozen places where we want to do the same thing, and if it works out, we may do even more.  I am very excited that it is working so well.
Next on the schedule was an important meeting with the Kabeli leaders of the nearby village. It is important that they understand what we are doing here so that we can work together on improving the opportunities for their people. Abera told me the meeting would start around 9am but I didn't see anyone waiting at the homes when we got back there at about 9:05am. I busied myself with cleaning, packing, and computer work. Finally, around 10:00am, I asked Abera what the deal was.  He told me that he had told them 8am , which meant that they would probably be here about 10am. By 10:30 some of them had arrived, and we started the meeting at about 11am.

They arrived to find that we were making progress already on the property. Abera had the area around the office grazed off, and the area around the homes cleaned up and plowed for planting vegetables.  He also has the entrance gate looking better and a new fence going around the main buildings and well area. This helped to start everything off on the right foot, leaving a good first impression.

We answered their questions, talked about what we were doing, and asked their advice on several issues.  We showed them the seep spring development and they were very impressed.  The main thing that they would like us to do is to educate them and their children. I told them that we would need to work together on developing a plan to do that.  When they left about four hours later, everyone was very enthusiastic.

We were almost finished with the meeting when the District Security Administrator and the District Police Chief came to join our meeting.  As we finished up, he asked us some questions that we had already covered previously.  I said that we could just end the meeting and answer their questions after the others had left.  In a stroke of genius, Abera asked if any of the others wanted to briefly recap our meeting.  For the next 10 to 15 minutes, two of the Kabeli leaders reviewed what we had gone over earlier that day.  It was a really good review, and showed that the people are on board with our projects. While they were doing that, I had the idea to hand each of them a new crisp Birr bill as a token and reminder of what we were doing.  I explained to them that it wasn't to spend but to use as a source of inspiration and encouragement.  The meeting ended with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. Abera and I spent and additional hour with the District leaders answering their questions and discussing how we will work together in the future.  They are happy to have us there using the resources to help the people.

Our drive back to Shashemene was typical: bouncy roads, lots of people, a few near misses as we passed big trucks along the auxillary road where the construction is taking place, etc.  We unloaded at the hotel, and Abera headed home. I had my usual rice with meat sauce for dinner and headed for the shower.  I had some fleas or ants or something biting my legs and I was anxious to get them off.  I think that I have a dozen or so new bites that itch like crazy.  I need to remember to soak myself with Off when I go to work the cattle here in Ethiopia.

I am almost all caught up with my journal entries, that Erika is abridging to create the blog. I think that I spent a minimum of an hour on each one, and close to two hours on the longer ones, but I know that it will be worth it to have this record. [Note from Erika: Yes it is! It is so inspiring to see how the Kabeli leaders grew in enthusiasm as the meeting progressed. It is touching to me how anxious they are to have their people educated. It is so neat how sharing what to us is just a little, makes such a big difference in the lives of these people. It renews my enthusiasm and fills my heart with gratitude that I can play a part in this most amazing project!]


  1. hi, my name is Abia Kabeli and I am South African. What is the Kabeli Leaders?

  2. Abia,
    Kabeli is the term used in Ethiopia for small villages so Kabeli Leaders are the political and religious leaders of the village.


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