Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Visit to the Kokosa Farm

We spent the last two days in Kokosa, our farm in the highlands of Ethiopia. On the first morning, Abera, Haven and Shemelis arrived to drive up there with me, and we headed in to town to buy bedding and food for our stay in Kokosa. We bought cheap mattresses, blankets, pillows and sheets for the three of us to use at the Kokosa farm. Abera already had his bed up there. It cost 1700 birr for everything or about $150.


With a better vehicle, Shemelis drove us to the farm in just over two hours. The roads were actually fairly dry, so we made it in without any problems. One funny incident was when we were just about to the farm, and a young horse was on the road. It became spooked and started running down the road in front of us. We could not get it to stop no matter what we did. Finally at the next small village we came to, the villagers ran it off the road so that we could go past.


Abera has been very busy up there, and it looks much better. The old and very dangerous foot bridge across the river washed out. We were already in the process of replacing it, so the river washing it out just saved us time. The new bridge is solid, anchored to the ground, and has a hand rail. “It is much better” in the words of a couple of villagers crossing it. They have cut several acres of grass hay to haul to Adami Tulu to feed our recipient cows and heifers. It is yielding about 2 ton/ acre which is pretty good, all things considered. It is a little more than half the cost to harvest the grass and haul it to Adami Tulu as compared to just buying it.


We also checked the 22 animals that we had bred for pregnancy. Our results were very poor, with only three pregnant out of the group. The cattle had not been on good feed long enough when we did the breeding, and they just aren’t very fertile cattle. Since they don’t fit with our program, we will sell all except the pregnant ones. Abera and I are looking at different markets to identify the best time and place to sell. On the bright side, they have gained weight and look good so I believe that we can sell them for more than we bought them for.


We started walking down to see the bridge, and a rain storm came in, so we went back to the house and cleaned for an hour. The windows had big white X’s painted on them so the birds wouldn’t fly into them. Abera had put bars on the windows so we didn’t need the X’s any more.The sun came out so we ate a quick lunch and headed out again only to get pushed back in again. Neither Abera nor Shemelis had brought a coat, so we went back to clean again and to fix the bathroom door. I remembered that I had two ponchos in my bag so I gave them to Abera and Shemelis and we headed out to see the office, generator, well and dormitories.


It rained lightly the whole time, so at 6:00 pm we headed in to change into dry clothing and go to bed. I let Shemelis borrow some of my clothing because he didn’t know we were going to stay here overnight. He and Abera went right to sleep, while Haven and I brainstormed about the property. It sounds like the rain has stopped so I hope the road will dry out for tomorrow.

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