Saturday, February 19, 2011

Some Highlights of November

I am often asked why we have been so long in keeping up our blog that I feel I need to explain.  I'm sure you out there agree that Shelley has done a very good job of posting through out our stay in Ethiopia and then one day I made an unfortunate comment to her that maybe she was posting too many pictures of flowers and other "girly things" and that it wasn't quite in the spirit of what I felt "Idaho Farmer in Ethiopia" was meant to be. So suddenly I found myself alone in keeping up the blog, very unfortunate for me and the fans of this Site.  Please beg her to accept my apology and for you out there please bear with me as I attempt to slowly fill in many of the highlights of the past few months.  Shelley has been such a good support for me through this venture and I so appreciate her. We have had many interesting things that we were part of that I will spread out over  a few posts.

On Nov. 6th we had Alyssa and her sister return to the farm for a brief visit.  As you may remember after the attack on Wes, Kate was left in Addis Ababa to take care of the five children that Was and Alyssa were attempting to adopt.  Wes and Alyssa then flew back to the USA for further care and surgery.  After the successful surgery and Wes' post surgery recuperation needing to be in Rexburg  Alyssa flew back alone to rejoin Kate to tend to the children.  This day they were able to jump on the our normal scheduled supply flight to the farm for a few hour visit before the plane returned back to Addis.  Of course this meant a brief celebration with Goat Tibs for all!  Yum!

From left to right: Nati, Alyssa Haws, Kiya (Alyssa's maid), Asefa, Kate Hill (Sister) , and Dennis Strong our project director 

It was a good visit and we got caught up with things and revisited the eventful day when Wes got hit in the head with the ax by an angry local farmer.  It was a miracle that it didn't turn out worse than it did.  All of us were so happy to see them.
She explained of the hardships they have encountered since the incident and the trials of trying to adopt the 5 children who are still in Capital, Addis Abbaba.   

Meanwhile the crop was maturing with little to no rain since planting 

The brush and trees were drying up showing that the sub moisture was tapped out down deep too

We had approximately 3" of rain for the crop to survive on which was spread out in brief storms from July through the end of September and only trace amounts there after.  This crop was planted though the month of September with harvest set to be in December.

The Ground 
Clearing  Continues

The Hectare/Acreage goal for Morrell Agro for the next planting season (March 2011) is 3,000 ha / 7,400 ac. and at this point in time we had a grand total of about 1,800 hectares of tillable acres prepared using a combination of hand labor with axes, loaders, and wagons with more hand labor.  This has provided much appreciated opportunity for this poor economic area. 

Coming up in the next blog is the the visit from our Daughter's family to Ethiopia

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Yes we are alive and well!

We are sorry that we have been poor at posting events.  I will attempt to go back and fill you all in of what we did.  While the crop was maturing  we were busy putting some new equipment together that had arrived at the farm.

It was Clair and Bracken's time to go back to the USA so I had the pleasure of working with the mechanics to put this "bad boy" together. It was a good opportunity to test our skills  and bond with each other.  They did a great job. Now we had to wait for a "bad boy" tractor to come pull the thing as the ones here are still too small. 

Shelley and I had the pleasure of visiting our maid Ashreka's family who lives about 3 hours away near Ginir.  We had a hired driver and took Ashreka, Nahom, and Zakir and away we went. 

Ashreka'a family lives on a farm that raises such things as avacados, mangos, sugar cane, papayas and fruit that I was unfamiliar with.  There was no road to their home so we had to walk about 20 minutes to get there.

The trail turned to an interesting rain forest like surrounding.  They obviously get more rain here than at the farm.

Here is Ashreka's family along with her little girl Karina that the family takes care of while she works.  It was a good visit and they treated us to some of the fruit from their farm.

While we were at the town of Ginir we stopped at a restaurant and had some "charcoal beef tibs" which were actually pretty good.  (cut up beef cooked with onions, garlic and peppers)

Nahom had to show off by ordering his in the traditional way in its "raw" form.  Good for you Nahom, you are the man!

We went to the Ginir market to take a look.  

They see more forenjis (white people) here in Ginir so the crowd was a little less overwhelming.

 In the USA when many farmers get together the parking lot is full of pickup trucks, but here .......


Poor donkeys

We took the opportunity while we were at Ashreka's to tour a well known tourist attraction in Ethiopia called the Sof Omar Cave that was just about an hour or so away.

At the edge of the cave

Down inside the opening.  It is a long cave of a few kilometers but we were not able to see all of it due to bridges being out.  I'm sorry I don't have good pictures to show a river that runs through it but very interesting for what we saw.  

When we returned home to the farm we introduced a little of our culture to Ethiopia to end out the month of October