Friday, August 6, 2010

August 6th, 2010 Frankfurt-USA

August 6th, 2010 Frankfurt-USA

I got nailed Tuesday with bug bites. My best guess is that they are biting fleas that were in the grass at the Farmer’s Training Center.  I stopped to take pictures and a couple of hours later noticed that my legs were itching.  I can’t think of any other way that I would have picked them up.  I guess that I should have sprayed my pant legs down.  Now I get three days of itching legs.

In the Sheraton I drifted off in the business lounge listening to the John Adams Biography.  I was awakened at 1:00 by security telling me that it was closing.  I walked back over to the airport to wait for the ticket people to arrive.  I went into the bathroom, shaved and put on my thermal top because it was a bit chilly.  I fell asleep again listening to John Bytheway. I slept fairly well considering that I was sitting in an airport chair.  I pulled a luggage cart over to prop my feet on to be more comfortable.
The other flights were booked so I had to settle for my original itinerary.  I went through customs again into the terminal and tried to sleep more but I wasn’t really tired so I read more of the Old Testament and the accompanying Sunday school lessons.  It is so nice to have all of the church material on my iphone.  I can easily pull it out and read from where I left off.  I have tabs in each of the standard works, the hymns, and several of the manuals. It has been really nice as I travel to and in Ethiopia because there are many times when I am waiting for someone or something and I can just pull out my phone and read.
I was very disappointed with the movie selection on our flight to the US.  We were on an older plane so they just had the group screens. They showed four movies, the first three were “romantic comedies” that all promoted sexually promiscuity.  Our society is fed so much of that garbage that it is accepted as normal behavior.  No wonder there is so much confusion as to what is right and what is wrong. We really do live in troubling times. I was able to listen to the rest of the John Adams biography and sleep on the way.
I started at the Addis Airport Thursday morning at 7:30 am which would have been Wednesday night at 10:30 pm.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


August 5th, 2010 Addis-Frankfurt

I slept well and as with most mornings here in Ethiopia woke refreshed before the alarm went off.  I went up and had prayer with the family . Melissa wanted to read scriptures with me even though the rest of the family couldn’t so the two of us and Steven read scriptures.  I packed up my bags still leaving the majority of my clothes and medicines.  I left my suitcase downstairs and gave the medicines to Abera with the food that I had left over.  He is a good man and will do well.  Working with Abera has been one of the best investments that I have ever made.
Birthday party for Abera's daughter
Joe took me to the airport at 7:30 am.  I have a suitcase from the Ocrowlys, my back pack and my computer bag.  I checked the first two bags and only kept my computer bag.  I prefer going home because I don’t have very much to take with me. There were almost no lines at all so I made it to the gate in about half an hour which included going through customs.  Unfortunately our flight was delayed almost three hours so I have just been sitting at the gate.  I have read through 1st and 2nd Samuel and the Sunday school lessons that go with those chapters.

My transportation back to my family
Three times now people have flocked to the front to board only to find it a false alarm.  They slowly drifted back to the seats between charges.  It would be funny if it weren’t so frustrating for these people.  We finally got off the ground almost three hours late.

I had the pleasant surprise of being bumped up to “Cloud Nine” which is the business class.  The seats are spread apart and recline all the way.  The meals include several courses and are gourmet. You also get a little packet that contains toiletries, a blind fold and socks. They bring warm moist towels several times throughout the flight to refresh yourself with. It is a much more comfortable way to fly.

I walked through the Frankfurt airport to the Delta counter but it was closed for the night so I just wandered around then walked over to the Sheraton.  I guess that I will spend the night here and fly to the US in the morning.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Holeta Research Trials

August 4th, 2010 Addis-Holeta

After a scripture study and Spanish tortilla breakfast Abera and I drove to Selam Manufacturing where we purchased another water pump and we ordered a butter churn.  The last time we were there we went to the first office to make our order, then the second office to pay, and then the storehouse to show them our paid receipt to pick up the pump.  We happened to hit their coffee break as we got to the storehouse so we had to wait 15 minutes for the break to get over.  Then we had to go the pump manufacturing area to pick it up back to the storehouse to pick up the pvc pipe and get their paperwork. We were hoping to get in and out faster this time but it took longer in the first two offices because I was ordering a butter churn and they were out of pvc pipe so by the time we got to the storehouse it was break time again.
An ox drawn water pump at Selam Manufacturing
Georgia picked us up for lunch.  We went to a small cafĂ© that had good food.  They cater more to the foreigners or Ethiopians that have lived in other countries for a while.  It was wonderful to visit with Georgia and hear of their ups and downs as they work to get their dairy and other projects going.  They are wonderful people.
Dr. Tesfaye and the berry bushes Lloyd imported for testing
This afternoon Tsehay, Mekonen and I drove to Holeta to look at the trees and bushes that Lloyd had imported.  We took the longer but faster way but got lost a couple of times so it may not have been faster on the way there but it was on the way back.  The traffic was very thick today in the center of Addis. 
Dr. Tesfaye and Tsehay evaluating the fruit trees from MAI
We met with Dr. Tesfaye who is overseeing the project.  He walked us around the research plots and showed us the plants that we had sent over as well as all the other trials he is working on.  The plants looked really good.  He had some of them in a small nursery so that they could get good care.  He explained that some of them were almost dead when they arrived at his place.  He made a point of the fact that he wanted us to tell Paul that he is doing a very good job with them.

Back at the office we finalized our budget and I submitted my expense report.  I think that all of the loose ends are tied up for this trip.  If not I will either have to tie them from home or have my staff do it.

Yesterday as we were driving near Mojo I saw women spreading what looked like light colored dirt on the shoulder of the highway.  When I asked Abera about it he told me it was cow dung that they dry on the road then sell or use for cooking.  Today as we drove to Holeta I saw grain spread out 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tying loose ends and preparing to fly home

August 3rd, 2010 Shashamene-Addis

            I have a fun chat with Melissa and Steven this morning before scripture study and prayer.  I will be glad to get back home and hold them in my arms again.  I have been listening to the biography of John Adams.  It amazes me at how much he and his family sacrificed for the country.  No wonder God was able to work so many miracles to create this great nation.

Dr. Tamrat, to my left, oversees the ET work at Debre Zeit Animal Research Center
            Abera and I drove to Debre Zeit where we met Dr. Tamrat for lunch.  I wanted to follow up with him on the embryo pregnancies and give him some ET supplies that I had.  We have one recipient cow that will have her calf in a week or two and three more later this year.  They all seem to be doing well.  We had a good discussion with Dr. Tamrat.  He is the type of person that will help lift Ethiopia out of its “fourth world” status as long as corrupt officials don’t drag him down.  There are some officials that were put in place as political favors that are only concerned about their own well being and tend to knock down those who don’t follow them in corruption.
            We stopped at the Bole home to drop off our luggage.  I asked Harag if she would wash my clothes for me.  She went right to it.  Weson is gone on vacation so Harag has the home duties to herself which isn’t too hard with just Joe staying here. 
            Abera and I went to buy a butter churn and a cream separator.  It took us a while and several phone calls to finally find the store.  They only had an Ethiopian made butter churn in stock and it was 2000 ETB more expensive than the one at Selam so I think we will just order from them.
            We stopped in at the office where we coordinated our projects with the different office staff.  Tsehay has an appointment set up for us to go to Holeta tomorrow to see the fruit tree trials so we can report to Lloyd.
            When we arrived back at the house we found Tony and his family staying there so it won’t be quiet as empty.  He has two small children so they will take the upstairs bedrooms and Abera and I will take the basement bunkroom.  The door was locked when I checked it but on closely investigation I found that it wasn’t totally closed so we were able to get in.  I was glad because otherwise we would have been sleeping on the couch and loveseat with only one blanket.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Working at Kokosa and meeting with Wando Genet University representatives

August 2nd, 2010 Shashamene-Kokosa

My modem ran out of minutes yesterday so I couldn’t Skype with my computer.  Erika called my Ethiopian phone using the Skype number so we were able to have scripture study and prayer.  I also had a nice long planning discussion with Erika.

Breakfast came fast this morning probably because I was the only one.  I was really excited when they brought fresh juice.  It is on the menu but not always available.  Sometimes it is best to ask what they have before you order so you don’t have to change your order several times.

Abera had to run a bunch of errands so he didn’t pick me up until 10:00 that gave me several hours to read Getting Things Done by David Allen.  I am really enjoying his ideas on working productively.

We drove up to Kokosa and found the road very muddy.  Abera let me drive the last half of the way in.  It was slick in several spots but we made it in with only one problem.  Just as I was getting to the gate I hit a big mud puddle with a big rock in the middle of it.  It knocked our motor guard off.  It didn’t look like this was the first hit that it had taken but it was the one that knocked it off.  We will have to find a good mechanic shop to fix it.

We gathered up the cows and ran them through the chute.  We bred five that had come into heat, pregnancy checked a couple and gave PGF shots to all that were not pregnant and had not been bred.  I worked with Abera a little on pregnancy diagnosis.  That is the one area that they don’t feel that they can do without me.  I recommended that they hire one of the breeders in Arsi Negeli that can do pregnancy diagnosis to help them.

We are going to let Mekonen borrow the tractor and plow to do the school farm.  His harvest was late so he doesn’t have time to plow all of the fields by ox team.  The arm for the three point hitch was missing so they drove the tractor by itself and we loaded the plow into the pickup.  I didn’t think we would be able to do it but Abera wouldn’t take no for an answer and got it loaded.  Fortunately the road had dried out during the day so we were able to drive out without any problems.The tractor was stopped on the side of the road near the Djibuti farm half way to Shashamene.  We stopped to see if we could help but they assured us they could handle it so we drove on.  

Newly constructed hay sheds at Wando Genet University for the dairy cow hay.

We arrived at the Lilly Valley Hotel at 6:30 and met with the group from Wando Genet University.  We talked about embryo transfer and I gave them Dr. Tamrat’s number to call.  I also reviewed with them my analysis of the dairy and encouraged them to space their milking time out at equal intervals.

I feel good about this trip. I think that we have the personnel in place to keep the Kokosa project going and I am seeing a new vision in them.  They are thinking of new ways to improve the productivity of the land and the animals.  I am very excited about their initiative.  I don’t necessarily want them to do everything my way I want them to envision the main goal and use their own ideas to determine the best way to achieve it so that they will still work when I am not around.  Abera is definitely there and some of the others are not far behind him.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Church in Awasa-Ethiopian Climate and Culture

August 1st, 2010 Awasa-Shashamene

I slept well last night in spite of the fact that my mattress was more like a board than a mattress.  I was awoken by the birds, monkeys and the local church at about 6:00am.  I had a fun time with my family on Skype.  I packed up everything and read scriptures while I waited for Abera to arrive.  On my way out I walked past the hotel’s breakfast buffet.  The juices looked really good but the rest of it looked more Ethiopian style.  I was fasting so it didn’t really matter although I would have really like one of the fresh juices.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Awasa, Ethiopia 
Abera was late picking me up but when we arrived at church we found that the Branch President was sick so it was taking a while for the meeting to get started.  I played some hymns on the piano while we were waiting for the meeting to start.  Abera brought Gemechu and one of his friends to church.  The missionaries hadn’t contacted him this week but after the meetings they gave them pamphlets and traded phone numbers so they could set something up. I am anxious for them to teach Abera but I am not going to force the issue.  It will work out in the Lord’s time.

There were four testimonies given in church.  The Elder’s Quorum President gave a long testimony explaining the authority of the priesthood and its restoration. Daniel, Elder Howard and I all added our testimonies.  One of the young women taught the Sunday school lesson on developing talents.  She did a very good job, teaching in Amharic and English.  The meetings started out rather chaotic but ended up being really good.

Abera dropped me off at the Lilly Valley hotel where I spent the afternoon listening to Truman Madsen and John Bytheway and doing some family history on Family Search.   While I was on line I chatted with one of Larry’s high school friends, John Wakley.  I don’t think I have talked to him since high school.

The weather is so nice here. It is overcast most days now because we are in the rainy season and it rains hard several days a week.  The temperatures are in the 60’s and 70’s so it is never really cold or hot.  I did see some AC units in the conference rooms at the resort hotel but most buildings and homes don’t have any kind of heating or cooling.  Fire is used for cooking in most homes and does provide a little heat but mostly the people just wrap a blanket around themselves if they get chilly.

I haven’t had the problems with insect bites this trip like my other ones.  I am fairly certain that they were bed bugs. I have sprayed my bed down when I enter the room and spray my pajamas down also.  I have been more careful not to spray myself.  Last time I gave myself a bad rash that caused the skin on my ankles to peel off like a sunburn. I did get bitten around the waist one day when I laid on top of the bed for a nap and hadn’t sprayed it.  It is nice to be free of insect bites.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Spending the Day in Awasa

July 31st, 2010 Awasa

I was able to talk to my family for two hours this morning, most of the time with Erika.  I used up 2/3rds of the minutes on my modem.  Skype is free but it costs 100 ETB ($7.25) each time I fill up my modem with minutes.  I am not exactly sure how it works; talking minutes just count down a minute at a time but internet minutes last quite a bit longer.  It seems like it is almost two internet minutes for one purchased minute. I have 35 minutes left to get me through the weekend.
The view from my hotel room with the swimming pool and Lake Awasa.
Erika and I feel really good about how our lives are going right now.  The Lord has blessed us with everything we need and much more.  We have our challenges like everyone else but He helps us through them.  It is almost scary to feel so at peace when life can change so quickly.  I guess that is what the Savior meant when He said “my peace I give unto you not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.”  I just feel confident that He is in control and as long as we follow His will everything will be all right.

They had a big breakfast buffet at the hotel but a lot of it was Ethiopian style so it cut my choices done.  I did have an awesome omelet with everything in it. The pastries look really good but don’t have much salt or sugar in them compared to the U.S. so they aren’t appetizing to me. Ingera for breakfast is more than my body can take.

I was just checking out when Abera and Gemechu showed up.  The hotel was booked for the night so I had to go to another one which was ok with me because I am fine with a less expensive hotel.  We can use Paul’s money better in other ways.  I am staying at the Oasis which is much smaller and more Ethiopian style. The rooms are all tile floors and I have a balcony overlooking the front of the hotel and the street.  For this room the cost is 303 ETB/night ($22).  This includes wireless internet (very slow), breakfast and laundry services.  For the price it is one of the best hotels that I have stayed in.
The cobblestone street being laid.
I walked up the street to see what was going on. They were making a new cobblestone street. At the end of the street is a new hotel and convention center.  They were not open yet but offered to give me a tour anyway. They have four nice conference rooms, 14 bungalows, and the hotel that overlooks Lake Awasa. You could tell that it was meant for foreigners because all the room rates were quoted in U.S. dollars from $49 up to $249.

I had a deep fried, breaded fish cutlet for lunch with mango/pineapple juice.  It was very good all for 54 ETB ($6).  Since it is fast Sunday I won’t try their breakfast but I will see what it looks like.

I spent the afternoon resting and writing reports. I think that I am finally caught up again. This has been a busy week and a good one.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Wando Genet University-Haili Salasi Hotel in Awasa

July 30th, 2010 Kokosa-Wando-Awasa

When I awoke this morning I checked my cell phone for service and was disappointed to see that there was no coverage.  I was thrilled about 15 minutes later when my phone rang and it was Joshua.  We had a nice discussion and scripture study as I stood out in the middle of our pasture in Kokosa.  Mulgeta had already gone to prepare the cows so I had to cut our conversation short.  We bred another dozen animals and found one that was aborting.  She was probably pregnant to Mulgeta’s artificial insemination breeding a month before, unless the guards had let our fattening bulls get too close to the cows.

We packed up and prepared to go while Abera gave instructions to Nuritu.  While I was waiting for them I started weeding the garden.  It didn’t take long before several of the guards were helping me.  Before Abera finished we had weeded the lettuce, onions, squash, tomatoes and carrots.  Our staff doesn’t have a lot of ambition on their own but they work hard when you set the example for them.  Their culture hasn’t had exposure to planting vegetables.

We dropped off Jamal, Sultan, Gemechu, and Mulgeta in Shashamene, grabbed some food and water then drove to the VOH compound.  The cow was in heat so we bred her.  I hope that she conceives this time because her milk production is really getting low.

The three inch leeches that were pulled out of the cows mouth. 
Abera and I drove to Wando Genet University where we met Girma and Emebet.  I looked over the cows and the facilities and asked a lot of questions so that I could give them some good advice on how to improve their production. I could have made many suggestions but settled on advising them to milk the cows at even intervals.  One of the cows had bloody slobber coming from its mouth.  When I pointed it out they told me it was because of leaches then proceeded to pull two, three inch long leaches from underneath the cows tongue.  We also found another one in the cow’s water trough.  Apparently they attach when they are really small when the cows drink from the nearby pond.

They currently milk at 6:30am and 3:00pm.  In the morning the cows have full udders but in afternoon they are not.  The full udder in the morning sends the message to the cow’s brain to slow done her production.  All of the cows are in good shape but they only give about 6 liters of milk per cow. They should be giving at least 15 maybe as much as 20.  Girma gave us a liter of fresh milk as we left.

We drove from Wando over to Awasa.  It is a very rich area that grows a lot of sugar cane.  Unfortunately they also grow a lot of chat which is a strong hallucinogenic. There is a lot of money in selling it.  Many of the car wrecks are due to the drivers being high on chat.  It is illegal to drive while on it but that doesn’t stop a lot of the drivers from using it.
The new Haili Salasi Hotel in Awasa. It is a very nice new hotel bordering Lake Awasa
Abera and I stopped at the Haili Salasi hotel.  Paul suggested that I might want to try it if I was in the area.  I checked in, 1500 ETB/night ($85).  Abera and I walked around to see the pool, hot tub, saunas, restaurant, and gym.  We got kicked out of the gym because I had my hiking boots on.  The lady said that we were ruining the carpet.  I thought that I had stepped out of Ethiopia for a while.

I got settled in my very nice room and went down to the restaurant.  They had set up a large buffet for a conference that was being held in the hotel. They said that I could fill a plate from the buffet and take it into another room to eat it.  The cost would be 316 ETB($23) where most meals in Ethiopia are 100 ETB tops.  I looked over the food and decided that it wasn’t worth it.  I walked around the lake front then went back to my room and had spam and crackers for dinner.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

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.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shopping in Shashamene and Work at Kokosa

July 28th, 2010 Camel Wreck-Shashamene-Kokosa

I had a nice visit with my family before scripture study and prayer. It is really good to be able to talk with them even though I am half a world away.  I anticipated that it would take about 45 minutes to get my breakfast and I was about right even though there was only one other couple in the restaurant that came in after me. I had ordered an omelet not the most complicated of breakfasts to cook.

Abera and I went shopping for jumper cables but they don’t know what they are in Shashamene so I bought 20 feet of heavy wire and some battery clamps and made my own for 392 ETB($28).  They don’t look very good but they got the job done.  We also purchased a large jug for storing milk, a couple of plastic buckets, basins, and pitchers all for 108 ETB($7.80)  We also spent about 50 birr on water and 50 on oranges, bananas, and bread. This will feed us for a couple of days I hope.  I am sure that Abera will go with Negeso to his restaurant a time or two and probably take Mulgeta and Gemechu. We also bought 20 liters of gas (13.23ETB/Liter, $3.65/gal) to run the little generator that they bought after my last trip here.  Jamal tried to run it on diesel but it didn’t work very well.
A load of camels ran off the main road and crashed. Many of the drivers chew "chat " a hallucinogenic plant. 
Abera drove to Kokosa and stopped where the camel carrying Isuzu truck had run off the road and down into the river.  It looked like everything and everyone probably died.  The road was just finished and has no guard rails. Many drivers chew a plant called chat which is similar to marijuana. Usually the poor road conditions keep the road speeds below 50k/h (30m/h) but with the new road the drivers can get going much faster.

The drive went well until we were about half way down the muddy lane to the farm. Abera overcorrected and slid to the low side of the road and got stuck.  He looked at me as if to say can you get us out now. It took a shovel and four people pushing but we got out and Abera learned a little bit about mud driving.  I pulled out some birr to reward the helpers.  Two of them gratefully accepted but two of them said that is not enough they set the one birr back on the truck seat and said give us ten birr each. (Ten birr is a day’s wage in this area).  I said if you don’t want the birr I will keep it and we drove off.  Abera was disgusted with them.  I asked him if it was because I was a farenge (foreigner) that they acted that way.  He said yes that he never pays people that help push and usually they don’t expect pay.
Gemachu and Mulgeta using the newly installed water pump. They were very excited!
The water pump is working great.  We filled a 10 liter bucket in 20 seconds.  That is much easier than hauling it up out of the well by hand. I had to calm everyone down or they would have pumped the well dry.  We will buy two more to use over by the corrals.

Mulgeta and I bred the three cows that came into heat.  I hope that the rest of them will come in tomorrow.  I am not sure about the semen quality but I am using this more as a training exercise for Mulgeta.  Tsehay is having the semen checked in Addis.  If it is no good we will just have to buy new semen. There are probably 6000 to 7000 doses in the tank. The semen that I have here was in the smaller tank so I hope that it was OK. Mulgeta bred all three cows with only a little difficulty on one of the cows.  I also started training one of the workers to thaw the semen.  He will need more practice.
Sultan explaining the project to Mulgeta. The idea is to have the overflow of the first trough to fill the second one.
Sultan has been working on the water troughs and is getting the hang of it now.  I told them that the first one is where we learn by making and correcting mistakes but from now on we do it right the first time.
Our new crop of Boran calves watched over by one of our herdsman. The cows are being milked as part of our dairy program. Most of the milk goes to a restaurant in Kokosa.
Mulgeta and I walked around the farm looking for other possible sites for gravity flow water troughs.  I continue to stress the importance of having lots of clean water for the animals to drink.  With so much rain and green grass the animals don’t really get that thirsty so the herders just assume that they don’t need any water and just let them drink out of puddles if they do.  Good management here will really make a difference.
Abera is very excited about his new toy. This will work much faster than the hand labor plowers.
I had attached my makeshift jumper cables to the tractor batteries and let the truck charge them one at a time. When I first tried to start it I couldn’t get any power to the motor.  I looked all over for a switch or something that I might have missed to no avail.  Later I climbed in again and tried the same thing and it worked. I went through the gears to figure out what was what then I trained Abera how to drive it.  He was really having a lot of fun so I left him and went to eat dinner.  I picked some chard and carrots to eat with my ham sandwich.
With the generator running tonight I am able to type even after dark and not worry about my battery dying either. With no light around it gets very dark here on the farm.  When the sky is clear you can see millions of stars.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kokosa Cattle and Harvesting Vegetables for Sale

July 27th, 2010 Shashamene-Kokosa - Adami Tulu

This morning after a smashed banana and peanut butter sandwich I went out to work the cattle with Mulgeta.  He already had the ones that we needed separated out so it was easy for us to process them.
One of our Jersey cross calves enjoying her breakfast.
I walked around the farm looking at the grass and the cattle.  There were a lot of thistles near where the bulls were grazing so I waved the guard over and showed him how to cut the thistles then gave him my knife and motioned for him to continue.  Even though we don’t speak the same language he got the idea.
The bulls that we are fattening at Kokosa
We loaded the harvested beets, chard, and lettuce into the truck and headed out.  I had Abera pray for us before we left.  The road was scary but we made it out.  At one point I was sure that we were headed into a ditch but the truck pulled away from it at the last minute.  When we reached the main road I stopped to change out of my boots and let Abera drive.  We said another prayer of thanksgiving.

We dropped the vegetables off at the Arsi Negele office for them to sell for us. Mekonen said that everyone was harvesting at this time so the prices were depressed.  We shouldn’t use the results we get from this trial to base our future plans.  The vegetables must have looked good to them because several of the staff were offering to buy them.
The central office complex at Adami Tulu with their mission statement on the far wall
We drove on to Adami Tulu to meet with Dr. Hailu.  We arrived early so we went to the cafeteria to see if we could get some lunch.  Abera had driven very fast from Arsi Negeli with that in mind.  Unfortunately they didn’t have any food left so Abera had a cup of coffee and I got nothing.

We met with Dr.Hailu and Ato Taha to discuss our plans for the recipient animals.  I offered to synchronize them and breed them on Friday to Holstein bulls.  They thanked me for the offer but declined saying that they needed to set up their own plan and they could use their own technicians for the breeding.  I was very happy that they took the initiative of doing their own project.  Now I will have more time on Friday to do other things and I won’t feel like I left them hanging with the recipients.  Abera did a great job setting the stage for our discussion.
Mideksa and Joseph at an earlier visit to Adami Tulu
Mideksa already had the cows ready for us to synchronize.  I felt bad telling him that we had changed our plan and only needed to check one cow.  He took it in stride and quickly separated out the cow for us.  To show my appreciation I gave him the camping utensil tool which has a spoon, fork, knife, can opener and cork screw.  He was very pleased and said that he would hand it down to his posterity.  He was also happy when I told him hello from Joseph.

Abera drove me back to the Lilly Valley.  I had a head ache and needed to rest.  I showered and felt much better so I spent the afternoon doing emails and chatting with my sweetheart on Skype.

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