Holeta Animal Research Center and Holeta Cattle Genetic Improvement Center

Apr. 30th, 2010

We had a good scripture study again today.  Erika and Jessica were at Women’s Conference so we missed them.  I told the family that it would be the last Skype scripture study for this trip.  This has been a hard trip but a very good one.
The staff and facilities at Holeta Animal Research Center
Abera and I left for Holeta about 7:30 and were a little bit late to get ahead of the traffic.  It was slow going through Addis but it did move along.  We stopped in at HARC to drop off flush media, catheter syringes and holding media.  It amazes me to see the labor intensity of the operation.  There were seven people cutting the grass outside the offices, a dozen cleaning the cow corrals, six taking care of the calves,  four working with the bulls, five pregnancy checking, four working on an electrical issue, three hauling milk to the front gate, a dozen people mixing and delivering the feed, several guards and about a dozen researchers.  This is for a 60 cow dairy.  In Ethiopia the goal is to have as many jobs as possible. The average wage of the employees is probably about 10-15 ETB ($1.00)/day so even though they have a lot of workers the actual labor cost may not differ a lot compared to the US.
The Feedmill at the Holeta Cattle Genetic Improvement Center 
We drove over to the Holeta Cattle Genetic Improvement Center and met with Tesfaye, the manager.  This is the oldest government farm and it specializes in raising breeding stock for the country. They have some of the best Holstein cows in the country and provide bulls for the Kaliti semen collection center.  They have an impressive feed mill where they mix wheat bran, wheat middlings, ground corn, and oilseed cake with limestone and salt for their rations.  They have four different rations for cows, heifers, calves and bulls.  They are currently in the process of building new facilities to house and milk their cows.  I think that we will probably work with them in the future.

We fought our way back through the Addis traffic.  It was stop and go all the way across so we were an hour late meeting with Marty to go over our budget.  It is good to step back and look at the financial picture of what we are doing.  We have spent a lot of time just plowing forward with the project and learning as we went.  Now we need to step back with the knowledge that we have, and upgrade our plans.

I turned in my receipts to Akawak and gave the balance of my money to Abera so that he can buy a generator for the Kokosa office.  I only spent about 2/3rds of what I had requested.  My hotel bill was much less because I stayed in Kokosa and Addis at our homes and the hotels I stayed in were the $25 or less ones.
I helped Abera load the cabinets and semen tank in the truck then said goodbye for another couple of months.  I never did get him set up on Skype so hopefully one of the other staff can.
Danny and Worknesh, two of my favorite Ethiopians
Danny stopped in to drop off the gas container for the stove so I road home with him to see Worknesh and the baby. They are both doing very well.  They insisted on feeding me my last meal.  We ate ingera with a potato wot and cooked cabbage. They are such wonderful people.

I packed up my two suitcases to leave and my one to take back home.  I had a quick discussion with Wally who had just arrived from the US. I am glad he is there to work out the government issues we have.  I said goodbye to Weson, Radit, Heidi and Mark then Joe dropped me off at the airport.  The lines were long and slow but I still made it in time for the flight.  I am going to try and stay awake most of the flight then sleep on the way to LA so my clock starts to adjust.