Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Restaurant and a Night in Kokosa

Apr. 20th, 2010
This morning I woke up without electricity.  I regularly wake up between 5:30 and 6:00 each day.  It makes a big difference when I am sleeping by 10:00 or 10:30.  Usually they turn on the generator when the power is out but I guess they decided not to run it until people were up and moving around.  Fortunately my hot water heater was full of hot water and my computer runs on battery.  I tried to Skype my family but the connection was very poor. I exchanged a couple of brief messages with Erika and called it good for the day.

Abera and I spent the morning going over the financial records of the Kokosa farm.  I was thrilled to see the detailed records that he has kept and the way that he has organized them.  We were able to see quickly what our remaining cash balance was.  This enabled us to go to his bank and withdraw the company money and deposit in the company account.  Everybody will be more comfortable now. This speaks volumes to the integrity of Abera. At any time he could have used this money for his own purposes or just ran off with it as some of the others have done. Instead he kept very detailed records and the receipts. He is a great man!
Through the window you can see the fresh carcass hanging. It doesn't get much fresher!
We tried a new restaurant that was open for the first time today. It was freshly painted and clean.  At the entrance was a typical butcher shop with the carcasses hanging on the back wall and the butchers cutting of large chunks then chopping them up on the cutting boards in the front.  It made eating the meal much less appetizing but I did know that the meat was fresh.  About half way through my meal I turned around and saw a man eating his meat raw.  It is not uncommon for Ethiopians to eat meat raw but this was the first time that I had seen big chunks of raw meat on the plate.
Negeso's motel in Kokosa
It was raining most of the way to Kokosa so we decided not to try to get to the farm.  Nageso had room at his hotel so we drove on to Kokosa to stay for the night.  They charge 15 ETB ($1.25)/night for the rooms which is about a day’s wage around here. The room is about 10X10 with an all metal door and medium sized window.
The toilet complex

The toilet which is at the back of the yard is the standard rural toilet, a tin shack with a cement floor that has a whole in the middle of it with some raised areas in the concrete to stand on during the process.  They brought me a plastic bowl to use as a chamber pot. They informed me that I am the first foreigner to stay in the hotel and probably the first foreigner to ever stay the night in Kokosa.  I think that I am doing a lot of firsts here in Ethiopia.  Some of them make me a little uncomfortable.  I sprayed my bed down with bed bug spray and coated myself with insect repellent.  We will see how it works.
My room in Kokosa

I had a glass of hot milk tonight and called it good. The tibs that I had for lunch are still heavy in my stomach. I am still fighting a head cold so I am looking forward to a good night’s sleep.

I finished reading Thomas Jefferson’s biography and was amazed at what a great man he was.  As good an education as I have had I didn't have any idea how magnificent he was.  If our current leaders were half the statesmen that he was we would have few of the problems that our country is facing.  Without his tireless fighting for a republican form of government it is very possible that we would have drifted back towards a monarchical government with an aristocracy.  There appears to be an element of our society that is pushing for that now just like the king men in the Book of Mormon.  Jefferson died deeply in debt because he had a huge benevolent heart.  He entertained guests at his own expense even when he was President.  I am sure that our current political leaders don’t pay for their lavish parties out of their own pockets.  They use our money to foot the bill.

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