Dr. Fitzhugh at the Ethiopian Veteranarian Association meetings

July 20th, & 21st 2010 Addis

This is the rainy season of Ethiopia.  It rains several times each day and night.  Many times I am woken up at night by the rain pounding on the roof. The heavy rains help to keep the air clean and fresh.  When it is not raining every day the black diesel smoke from all of the trucks soon makes a brown haze all around Addis. The downside to the rain is that everything is muddy. Most of the areas that we go around here are either paved of have sidewalk so it is not a big problem but I have seen deep mud and stuck vehicles because of the weather.

This morning Tsehay and I went to the Ethiopian Veterinary Association’s annual meeting. We meet Dr. Fitzhugh and Belachew at the gate of the African Union complex where the meetings were held. They are working on a USAID project to standardize the regulations for slaughtering and exporting meat. Dr. Fitzhugh has been working in Ethiopia for about 30 years.  He and Tsehay know each other very well from working on similar projects.  I was also able to meet several of the staff members from ATARC, DZARC and HARC. 

As we walked into the conference center we saw Dr. Abera, the Minister of Agriculture, and his party off to the side.  We went over and said hello then followed them into the conference hall. Most of the seats were full so I just followed Tsehay who followed the group and we ended up sitting directly behind Dr. Abera and Dr Birhanu, the President of the EVA.  It was a little uncomfortable for me to sit there but I consoled myself by thinking that it would probably give credibility to our project and may open doors later on down the line.

Tsehay and I spent yesterday and today formulating a new plan for the Kokosa property and the dairy initiative.  In a nutshell our plan has three phases: 1-build a small simple dairy in Kokosa this year, 2- build a larger modern dairy near Addis in a year or two, and 3- develop a support industry for the Ethiopian dairies in two to three years.  Paul liked the first and third initiatives but was hesitant on the second until we have more experience in the dairy industry in Ethiopia.  I feel much more comfortable with this plan.  It will still challenge us but it won’t be such a huge financial drain to start with.

I bought some roasted corn on the cob for 2 birr ($.15).  Either corn is more expensive here in Addis or I got the farenge (foreigner) discount of twice the price.  The corn is more comparable to our field corn not as tender as our typical sweet corn but it is still good.  I bought a kilo of oranges, bananas, tomatoes and half a kilo of onions for 32 birr ($2.35).  For the most part the produce here doesn't look as nice as the produce in the US but with few exceptions it tastes much better.