Monday, February 1, 2010

Walk-Around at Kokosa

I arose early, dressed and worked on the contracts for the research institutions. I was able to put the finishing touches on both of them.  I will email them to Paul and Wally for review when I get internet usage again.

I met Evan for breakfast, then went with Abera to Arsi Negelle for some interviews.  We met with Mulgeta and asked him to set up a meeting with a few of the best local dairymen tomorrow afternoon.  I want to talk to them about embryo transfer and see what kind of interest there is among them.  We also met with Belyner and Girma from Wendo Genet University.  They would like us to come and help them with their dairy.  Since I had been there a couple of times, I had some ideas that would help them.  I told them that I didn’t have time this trip, but that when I come back in March I will plan to spend a day with them.

We spent the rest of the morning interviewing potential veterinarians for the position at Kokosa.  We had one older experienced man, one young man with a little experience and a young lady with no experience.  Abera preferred the young lady because she would be very teachable and not prideful, have the lowest salary and she wouldn’t have to leave a job.  I invited Makonen, Binyam, and Evan in to discuss the three candidates with us.  We decided that the older man was too set in his ways and would not be teachable in addition to the fact that he thought that the job should pay twice as much as the others.  Makonen had worked with him before and confirmed that he was not a good choice.  We settled on the young man because he had a lot more work experience than the young lady.

Abera took me to a local restaurant for lunch. We had lamb tibs with ingera and bread.  The bill for both of us including two cokes was 35 birr ($2.77).  I don’t know that I will ever really like the food here but it does fill my belly.

We picked up Gamachu, our new purchasing agent, and drove to Kokosa.  When we arrived I did a walk-around.  The animals are looking very good.  While I was counting them, the herdsman came up and told me that there were 27 but I only counted 24 including the 2 calves.  Either he didn’t know his English numbers or the alcohol that I smelled on his breath was clouding his mind too.  I took them to see the seep spring which I had to dig up because the pipe had been tromped into the mud. We chose a couple of other areas that will be better suited because they have a larger flow of water.

The elephant grass is doing fairly well, considering the conditions that it was planted in.  We met Genemo, the local cattle buyer, and asked him about ways that we could position ourselves in the market.  He appeared willing to work with us.  

I was very disappointed in the garden.  The weeds were taking over and the cattle had been let in to craze and had pulled up or eaten the tops off from about half of the beets.  I started weeding and eventually they started helping me.  In about 10 minutes we had the whole thing weeded and the beets replanted and watered.

Abera announced that we were going to have a cookout tonight.  I didn’t really think much of it until he came in and asked me to come and kill the lamb.  I had my pocket knife but it isn’t the sharpest around so I asked if they had a better knife.  One of the guards had a sharper one so I used it to cut the lamb’s throat.  I started to help them skin it out but they stopped me because I wasn’t doing it their way which decreased its value at the market.  They cut off strips of meat and roasted them over the fire.  I wasn’t really hungry but I ate anyway.  

Later they brought over some false banana which tastes a little rancid.  I found out later that they let it ferment for a month then cook it in their butter, which explains the rancid flavor and the sharp fermented flavor.  I probably like it about as much as ingera.  Here in the highlands they eat it as often as the people in the lowlands eat ingera.

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