Embryo Transfer at Adami Tulu Animal Research Center

Apr. 13th, 2010

Darege picked me up at 5:30 this morning to go to Shashamene. I was just getting on Skype for FHE when he arrived so we prayed as a family and I said goodnight to them.  I quickly called Steve Larsen to answer a few urgent questions that he had.  Darege is a very cautious driver which almost drove me crazy as we slowly made our way out of Addis.  I think that he went above 60km/hr(35m/h) only a couple of times on the highway where the speed limit is 80 (50k/h).  The few vehicles that were on the road whipped past us.  He did speed up a little outside of Addis.  I decided that after my accident last week I should not worry about it and let him drive so I opened up my scriptures and read about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in between my chats with Darege.
Embryo recipient cows at ATARC

I had factored in a half an hour cushion so we were only about 10 minutes late when we arrived.  Chali and Belay were there to help us get going.  The herdsman quickly sorted the five animals we needed and drove them to the working area.  I had marked a big 5, the date, on their hips so even though one of the animals was not identified on the paperwork we still were able to work with her.  I was very pleased to find that all five of them had a corpus luteum so we were able to put embryos in them all.  We had a problem with some ice at the bottom of the goblet freezing all of the embryo straws together.  It was a little difficult separating the straws without damaging the embryos. The transfers went smoothly. Two of the animals were difficult to thread the cervix but everything else went fine.

We stopped in the cafeteria and had a glass of hot milk.  My milk must have been a little burnt or else they hadn’t washed my glass out very good because there was a slight off taste to it.  I thought that it might have coffee in it at first so I asked Abera but they said it was straight milk.  I don’t drink milk very often here so I enjoy the hot milk at ATARC.

I talked with Belay, one of the ATARC staff, about his handicapped daughter.  I explained what I had found out and asked him additional questions so that I could get the best information for him.  I wish that I could just take her to Primary Children’s Hospital but that is not an option right now. There really isn’t much help for her in Ethiopia.
Two of the Holstein (Friesian) cows from the VOH compound
 We drove on to the compound where I checked the cow and gave her a PGF shot.  We discussed her feed and care.  It looks like Abera’s wife, Tgist, will eventually assume the role of milker once the children are gone.

Abera invited Darege and I to eat tibs with him for lunch.  I think I would really like tibs if the meat was from tender American beef but I struggle with the tough Ethiopian meat even when it is cut up for me.  I am becoming accustomed to ingera so that I don’t mind eating it as much.

We set up a bank account in Shashamene to handle the money for the Kokosa project.  I will be much happier to have the money in the bank instead of in huge bundles in my briefcase.  The process of setting up an account is similar to setting one up in the US except you have to have several different people doing several different steps.  Abera had most of the work finished so it only took us half an hour to finish it up.

This evening I went over to Mekonen’s farm to check his two cows and prepare them for breeding.  The older cow had some scar tissue on the end of her teat.  The milker brought out an old cannula that he was going to insert into her teat to help the milk flow.  I quickly discouraged it and taught them how inserting the cannula would be like giving the cow an injection of bacteria leading to mastitis.  He also had some antibiotic pills to give the cow but I told him it was not necessary and that in the US if you gave them to a cow you would not be able to sell the milk for a week.  He smiled and said we are not that advanced here.