This is me, Seid is second to the left, and some of the guards, and I think Omar, the guy who tends the chicken and cooks our goats is in there somewhere. Since Alan wouldn't dance with me, Seid asked me to dance and I danced in the middle of all these guys - which was great, however, I'm sure I added to that sterotype in their eyes, that white people can't dance. Sometimes I just have to prove I'm a dork.
On September 25, the plane came and brought some new people here to the farm, most notably, Dennis Strong who will stay here at the farm with us for the long haul, and Kimball Shill, who will direct the Morrell Agro Ethiopian operations in Addis Ababa. Sorry, maybe I can get pictures later. Heidi, Mark and Elyn flew out on the same plane and are returning home to Cedar City for one month. When the plane took off, I cried because Heidi was going and I wanted to jump on that plane with her and just leave this place. But I didn't. I wiped my eyes and smiled and waved good-bye with Nia and the plane took off and left me standing there with a heavy, heavy heart. I almost felt a meltdown coming, but I pushed it down and thought about the chocolate Hershey's Almond Kisses that Vern Bell (the Abyssinian Airline pilot) brought me from the USA. Oh my goodness and bless his heart! He had remembered from his previous visit that I miss and am craving chocolate and he was so kind to bring some down for me and Alan. A man who brings chocolate is a friend indeed!
This last week I have been focused on beautifying the yard of our four homes. There are some very nice plants that were purchased for landscaping and so I have been putting them to good use. I wish I knew the names of each of these plants , because we have so many of them. I'm hoping that some kind of grass can be seeded here so that we can cut down the mud problems as we go into the rainy season. If any of you know the names of these plants, please leave me a comment, as I'm unfamiliar with some of them.
This I know is an orange trumpet vine. I love it.
One of the guys here on the farm told me that this was a date palm in the picture below. Anyone know for sure?
Below you can see the flower garden about 8 weeks ago, so you can see that it certainly has improved.
The traditional hut is 95% finished. I took pictures of the workers. They make the hut frame with some very straight long poles, then they start the roof with bamboo and bark strips and finish it with grass thatching.
The wheat planting is averaging 80 hectares a day, when it's not rainy. There are still tire problems, and that will continue as long as we are disking newly cleared ground. An additional six loaders were rented for ground clearing so that assignment can go faster. Taz and his crew are going like crazy trying to clear enough ground so that 2000 hectares can be planted before the peak of the rainy season. They have been averaging about 10 hectares a day so you can see it is a hard job for everyone. Considering we don't have enough equipment and what equipment we have is getting beat to death the fields are slowly getting planted. Some equipment is just going on a wing and a prayer.
All the grain planted this last month is up and growing well. Alan took this picture of the nice straight rows of drilled grain which have never been seen before in Ethiopia. Everyone here thinks they are especially beautiful and they are.
260 Hectare field (640 acres)
Below are some pictures of the tractor tires and stumps and sticks that are causing such havoc. These tiress have around 300 hours of use. For those of you who can't relate to that farmer lingo, these tires are only two months old. The two bottom tires show a big stick puncturing the tire. A good example of what's chewing them to pieces.
I have rats in my house and about every third night we have an in-house rodeo and beat the rats to death with the fly-swatter. One time Alan had one cornered (he thought) in the kitchen but it got away and came running right toward me. He yelled stop it!, but I am a chicken and screamed as I let the rat run right between my legs and into the bedroom. Yowzers!, I am as scared of rats as Bracken is of spiders. It finally ran back of Alan's nightstand and he squashed it like a bug by pushing on the nightstand while I stood on the bed. I hear rats every night under my bed and I'm beginning to think I'm lucky that they aren't crawling in bed with me. We also have frogs and birds that get in the house, not to mention the numerous and various flying insects, crickets, and monstrous spiders. One day I came out of my bedroom, because I heard some weird sounds out in my frontroom, and there were four or five big ugly birds in my kitchen because someone left my door wide open. I'm also scared of birds so I screamed and ran back into the bedroom and hoped they flew away - which they did. And two other times I have had birds fly into the house - right through the windows, which I have had to chase around with my broom until they find the windows and fly out. Yeah, it's just allkinds of fun here on the farm.
Below are pictures Alan took last night of yet another celebration. Today is the celebrating of Ethiopia having/finding the true cross that Jesus was crucified on. They claim to have it in their possession somewhere in Northern Ethiopia. So that was the cause of all this carrying on.
A chant of praises to earn money for Orthodox Christian uses (crazy!)
Hopefully, I will be able to post a little sooner than later next time and keep you informed about the happenings here at the farm in Beltu, Ethiopia.
Till next time.