Projects & Challenges

There were three inches of foam pad and a couple of sheets between me and the concrete floor. Half way through the night I had compressed the three inches into less than one. I turned over a lot throughout the night, trying to find another area that was still three inches thick. It was a little bit chilly, so I wrapped my head in a shirt and was comfortable most of the night. The blankets that we bought were nice and heavy, and carried the wonderful aroma of diesel smoke. I kept telling myself that it was good for repelling insects. Needless to say, it was a rough night!

We had a banana and some bread for breakfast, before heading over to work the cattle. We ran through the whole herd quickly, and only checked the 22 bred Arsi heifers and the ten Boran heifers. We were disappointed to find only three of the animals were pregnant, but it means that we can sell most of the Arsi cattle and start over with the Boran, which is my preference. The Arsi cattle hadn't been fed well enough from the start, and just don’t fit with our program, but all of the heifers look much better than they did two months ago. They have really done well on the pasture and are looking very good, so we should make a good profit when we sell.

As we arrived back in Shashemene, I suggested that we stop at the Shalom Juice Bar. I really like the spris drink (pronounced "spreece"), which consists of thick layers of several different blended fruit juices. (The picture on the right shows what the juice drinks look like.) As I looked at the menu, I saw one called fruit panch. The description said that it was made of many different fruits, so I ordered it instead of my usual. When it finally came, after everyone else had finished theirs, it was a bowl of chopped fruit instead of a drink. It wasn’t what I had in mind, but it was delicious.

We went over to check on the heifer, and look at the alfalfa fields. The alfalfa is doing well in some spots and not as well in others. When we dropped Abera off I went in to see his house and say hello to his wife, Tigist. He has made a lot of progress on his house, and is really doing and quality work. He is a shining example of what Ethiopians with motivation could become. I am so glad to be working with him.

As I was climbing into the car, some of the village children asked me for the bread that was left over from our trip. It had been squished in a few places, but they didn’t care. I asked the oldest boy if he would share with the others. He said yes, but then took off running with it as soon as I gave it to him. He was so excited and was waving the bag around. The bread was breaking up and pieces were falling out. The younger children followed after him eating the pieces that fell. He will be surprised when he gets to his destination and finds most of the bread gone. It was very funny!

At the Village of Hope, I checked the water meter, because Musafet said that it hadn’t moved. The numbers on the main dial hadn’t moved, but the smaller dials had so I taught him how to read the smaller dials. He has really taken that job to heart, it is wonderful. I had several of the children show me their gardens. Most of them just had carrots and cabbage. One young man had done an excellent job of weeding, some of the others had done an okay job, but a couple of the gardens looked like they hadn’t been weeded at all. I praised them all for planting, and gave extra kudos to the ones who had weeded so well. I encouraged them to do even better, and taught them about thinning and fertilization.

I am starting to have problems again with the red bites on my legs, like on my previous trip. Right now I have over 20 of these bites, and I even have a few on my hands. I am not sure if it is bed bugs, fleas, or one of the thorny plants that I walked through. I rubbed insecticide inside my shoes, washed my clothes and sprayed my suitcase down with the insecticide. I hope that will eliminate the problem. They itch like crazy for about three days and scratching them doesn’t help at all. I will have to bring some anti-itch ointments with me on my next trip.


  1. I enjoy so much reading of your comings and goings. Keep up the good work!


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