Breeding the Cows-Training the Staff

July 29th, 2010 Kokosa

This morning I shivered awake at 5:30.  I had rolled around during the night and kicked my blankets off. The temperature was about 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit).  It was extremely foggy outside but as the sun came out it burned off.  I started weeding the garden until Mulgeta came out.  Abera has his beehive set up near the garden. I am pleased that he is taking initiative to try new ventures.
A typical beehive in rural Ethiopia with a piece of tin over it to keep off some of the rain.
Mulgeta went to separate the animals and I went to gather the breeding supplies.  We had seven animals to breed this morning and one sick one to treat.  Abera bred some of the cows with my assistance and Mulgeta bred the others.  I taught Jamal how to prepare the semen.  He did really well except for the one straw that he put in backwards. I am happy to see them taking control more and more.

We went back to the house for breakfast.  I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich while they had ingera.  Abera was a little late getting in so he missed out on the ingera and had to eat some bread.  He took pictures of the other four finishing off the last of the ingera.

We collected nine liters of milk last night and eleven liters this morning.  Most of the cows are giving two to three liters a day and feeding their calves. I am working with the management to think through their options and sell the milk or products for the best possible return.  Last night Gemechu went to Arufta , a nearby village, to see if they wanted to buy milk from us and at what price.  He wrote up a little report with his recommendations at the end.

Abera met with the staff for a couple of hours to handle daily work issues.  When he finished I talked with them about where we have come this year and where we are headed in the future.  I asked them how their life had changed since MAI came, for good or for bad.  They talked about how positive it was for them.  They now had jobs but more importantly they had learned a great deal.  They didn’t believe us when we talked about embryo transfer or even artificial insemination.  Now that they have seen calves born they believe.  One comment especially caught my attention.  One of our guards said that we were preparing their minds for the truth.  That had deeper meaning for me than he thought. I wanted to keep it brief because Abera had talked with them for two hours already but they had a lot of questions and comments so we kept talking for almost two hours.  I challenged them to do something in the next year to make themselves better.  I also challenged them to make enough profit over the next four years to pay Paul back his investment. They were nodding their heads and smiling so I took that as a good sign.  Finally Mulgeta held up a sign that said lunch so I ended the meeting.
The team having a quick bite after working hard. It is typical for everyone to each from the serving dishes. The faster you eat the more that you get.
After lunch I met with Mulgeta, Gemechu, Negeso, Jamal, and Abera.  I asked them how their lives had changed since they started working with Paul. I taught them the principle of being “above the line” from The Oz Principle with my additional thoughts about revelation coming from God if we are working above the line.  We batted ideas and comments back and forth about the project and had a good discussion.  As the meeting was winding down I asked them why they thought that Paul was working here in Ethiopia.  I told them that he was rich and could easily stay home and relax.  Abera added that he had flown to the States and it was no fun.  I told them about his fight with government officials and how he was fighting so that he could help the people in spite of the government. I then talked to them about the difference between temporary fun and long lasting joy.  I said that I couldn’t speak for Paul but I could for myself.  I asked them if they thought that coming to Ethiopia was fun for me.  They laughed and said no. Then I told them how much joy it brings to me as I see them grow and progress.  I pointed out some of the difficult things that they do to achieve success and how they felt when they succeeded. They got the picture.  It was a spiritually uplifting discussion.
Part of our plowing crew. They are thrilled to have the opportunity to earn the 15  ETB/day so that they have money to buy their school books and supplies.
Mulgeta and I went to check on our 27 man plow.  We have about one hectare (2.45 acres) plowed and it has taken about five days to do the whole thing.  We pay the workers 15 ETB/day($1.10) this is up from 10 ETB/day which is the normal daily rate.  This injects a lot of money into the local economy.  It can really help if they use it appropriately.  Mulgeta told me that most of our workers are high school students earning money to pay for their books this fall.

We bred eight more cows this evening.  I would have expected more to come into heat by now.  I hope that we have a lot in heat tomorrow.  We will give everything that doesn’t come into heat another PGF shot on Monday.

The cellular network was down today so I wouldn’t have been able to talk to Erika and the family if they had called.  I hope that it is back up tomorrow.  It makes communication difficult when it is down.