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.

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