A Great Celebration in Kokosa with President Abadula

Apr. 8th, 2010

Last night it rained hard.  I know because the hotel has a tin roof and I was on the top floor.  When I finally adjusted to the rain outside I was startled by drips of water hitting my pillow.  The first time I went into the room I thought it strange that the bed was pulled out a foot from the wall, now I know why.  So I got up and pulled the bed forward about a foot then went to sleep.
How to deal with a leaky room-Move the bed away from the drip

I awoke at 5:00 am and had a quick devotional with my family before Abera arrived at 5:30.  We filled up with gas and bought some cake for our visitors then headed to Kokosa.  We arrived only a few minutes before 9:00 am when President Abadula was scheduled to arrive.  
Embryo Transfer supplies to show President Abadula

We scrambled to get prepared for his visit and were ready for him by 9:30am.  We waited around until almost noon before we saw his motorcade coming.  A few minutes later Negesu rode up to tell us that the motorcade drove on past to Kokosa.  It was very disappointing for all of us.  Abera suggested that we go on to Kokosa to meet with him.  We quickly packed up everything piled in the car and drove to Kokosa.

Seated on the front row with President Abadula

As we arrived at the event site we were waved into a schoolyard.  We drove as far as we could then parked the car.  Negesu grabbed me by the arm and pulled me through the crowd up to the VIP tent in front.  I was headed towards the middle part of the tent when a man on the front row stood up and motioned for me to sit in his spot on the front row.  The celebration was already in progress with native dancing and singing.  I enjoyed the performance but I was even more intrigued by the crowd that formed a semicircle about 50 feet out from the pulpit. There was a staggered line of security people holding the crowd back. Then about five rows of people seated on the grass followed by a throng of people standing. Interspersed through the crowd were more security personnel.  Most of the security people had thin branches or switches which they were using to hit the people that were pushing forward through the crowd.  The crowd was like a slow moving tide.  By the end of the performance it was within about 10 feet of the pulpit.  The Ethiopian people have a very different standard of personal space and crowd etiquette than Americans.

The special gift for Pres. Abadula, a fattened bull!
As part of the celebration they brought a fattened bull out for President Abadula.  They also gave traditional blankets to him and his staff.  I was honored as a representative of Morrell Agro and given a blanket also.  It was a very large and heavy white blanket with a thick red stripe on the bottom.

We slowly worked our way back to the car.  I was a big attraction being the only Caucasian around.  In some cases probably the only white man that they had seen.  We drove through the crowds of people filling the streets and I smiled and waved as they stared at me.  Some smiled and waved back.  
Washing our hands before eating at Negesu's restuarant
We drove on to Negesu’s restaurant where we had tibs with ingera for lunch.  Later they brought out yogurt which looks and tastes like clabbered milk.  I decided to pass on it this time.  Negesu also had some chuco which is a mixture of barley flour and butter.  It is a little like very thick peanut butter.  A couple of spoon fulls was plenty for me.
Negeso and the remains of our meal. The chuco on the plate came from the jar to the left of the table.

We went back to wait at the farm because they said they might come to visit us after the festivities.  After about an hour Negesu came and informed us that they had gone on to Arbegona and would not be visiting us.  We packed up and headed to Kersa Illala where I dropped off Abera, then to Arsi Negele where I dropped off Mulgeta, Ingeta, and Gemechu. I headed on to Addis by myself.