Thursday, July 15, 2010

Progress and Disappointment With the Cattle and the Vegetable Garden

Abera and I left for Kokosa with an omelet in hand that Almus and Larry had prepared for us.  We picked up Gemechu in Edo and met everyone else in Kokosa. After unpacking the supplies we went to check the cows. As I suspected and feared we only had one pregnancy from the embryos that we put in last time.  This pregnancy and the one at Holeta came from embryos that I had left at Holeta in January.  It appears that all of the embryos that were in our tanks in Addis between January and the end of March were killed.  I suspect that somehow water got inside the tank and caused the problem.  The liquid nitrogen was low in the shipper tank and almost completely gone in the other one.  It just makes me sick to think of all the time and money that was wasted because of someone’s thoughtless act.  They probably didn’t even realize they were doing something wrong.
MAI Kokosa management team in front of the improved cattle handling facilities

Checking all of the cows went incredibly fast compared to when we first started the project.  They had constructed a new corral and chute that made things much easier and put the workers underneath a shed.  I was so happy that I had them get in front of it so that I could take a picture. I think that we processed all 115 head in less than two hours. The first time that we did 90 head it took us two days.
Beautiful but non functional water trough. Water runs down hill!

I walked around the farm to see the progress that had been made.  I was very upset when I came to the new water trough that was built below the spring.  In spite of my telling them that it worked by gravity and that the place that they had started building it was too high, they built a very nice looking water trough that is totally nonfunctional.  The trough itself was built up on a base making it higher than the spring.  Mulgeta got the brunt of my frustration but Abera got there in time to feel some heat too. He apologized and took responsibility but explained that he had told the contractor the right way to build it but the contractor had not listened.  Mulgeta suggested that we dam up the spring and raise the water level so that it could flow into the trough.  I said that I thought it would work.  He said that they would try it. I just replaced the pipe and stated making it myself.  That caught them all off guard but several others soon joined in to help. We built a two foot high dam from sod and soon had the water flowing into the trough.  They will have to fine tune our work but we were able to see that it will work.
Abera hand plowing the field
I was pleased to see that they had plowed about 2 acres.  When I asked them about the tractor they told me that it had been plowed by hand.  Even though the tractor had been there for a couple of weeks no one knew how to use it so they hired laborers to plow the land by hand.  I took them to the tractor to teach them how to use it but the battery was dead so we will have to do the training next week.

Mulgeta has worked hard on this vegetable garden and it is doing very well
Lettuce
Swiss Chard and Beets

Carrots
The vegetable garden looks very good.  They weren’t sure what to do with the radishes so they let them grow. Some of the plants are standing over five feet tall. Carrots, beets, swiss chard, lettuce, peas, pumpkins, tomatoes, beans, onions and cilantro are all doing well.  The corn was hurt by the snow that fell. I guess it does snow in Kokosa. It did not freeze but was cold enough to stunt the corn. It is incredible how well everything is growing.  It would be so easy for the villagers to grow very good vegetables with very little work.

I had a good planning meeting with our management staff then did performance reviews with all of them. I am pleased with the work that they are doing but we have a long way to go.

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