Thursday, January 14, 2010

HARC Pregnancy Results & Possible Mineral Deficiency


This morning I called Teddy and asked him to drive us up to Holeta. We got a late start and hit bad traffic, so even though I had scheduled in an hour buffer, we were still half an hour late arriving. I like to be on time, but here in Ethiopia punctuality is not really expected, or even possible. When we reached HARC we had to negotiate with the guard for five minutes before he would let us in.  He just kept shaking his head and saying no.  It was as if he couldn’t understand what Teddy was telling him or he didn’t know who Dr. Aster was. Getting out after our work was done was almost as bad. When we arrived at the gate, it was partially closed, so Teddy honked for him to come. We waited awhile and then honked again. After waiting a bit longer and still not seeing anyone, I just jumped out and opened the gate. As we were pulling through, the guard finally appeared and gave us quite a tongue lashing for opening the gate ourselves. I guess there is quite a problem with stealing in Ethiopia, so he has to inspect each vehicle as it leaves to make sure we are not carrying something off.

I was excited to talk with Dr. Aster and see how everything was going. The seven fresh embryos that we implanted at HARC only yielded one pregnancy (14%).  Their subsequent attempt to synchronize embryo recipients for their flush in December had similar poor results. They set up 21 recipients but only had 13 show heat and only 2 of them were usable as recipients. On the other hand, the donors responded well and both produced embryos. As we analyzed the situation, it became apparent that there may be a mineral deficiency at HARC. The donors receive more of the concentrate feed which has minerals in it, while the recipients do not. At DZARC the recipients have also been receiving the concentrate, and are in better body condition. I will be working with them to correct this problem before we implant any of our frozen embryos from the U.S. 

We gave Emilion, a researcher working on a PHD, a ride back to his home in Addis. He is doing work on synchronization so we will be able to work together on this project. A little while later, I went with Lloyd and Worknesh to meet with Dr. Solomon, who is going to help Lloyd get the import permits to bring the fruit trees into the country. It was great to see him. He is so enthusiastic and grateful for what we are doing here in Ethiopia.  It inspires me to want to work even harder.  He invited us to dinner next Wednesday night. The thought came to me to give him a symbolic gift, so as we were leaving I said, “Dr. Solomon, most of the farmers in the United States carry a pocket knife. I am giving you this one to show our appreciation to you, for allowing us to bring some American ways of farming to Ethiopia.”  He was very pleased to accept it. 

This evening Joseph, Evan and I made Spanish tortillas for everyone for dinner. One nice thing about living in the office/home is that we get to cook our own meals, which makes things much easier on our digestive systems. ;)

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