Monday, May 2, 2011

Harvest and visit to Goro Raya School

I will give a brief recap of harvest.  The harvest was disappointing due to lack of rain.  Some of the first crop  planted (1/3 of area) got most of the rain and was worth harvesting but the remainder was very short, too short to harvest and the last 1/3 of the crop never emerged.  Very discouraging to say the least. We knew very little going into the area and hoped that the rain levels would be higher, but with a total of around 3.5 inches of rain over three months time was not sufficient to obtain success.

I went home with my family soon before harvest leaving adequate help to accomplish the job without me.  It was better for my sanity to return home seeing so little fruit from our hard labors.  The yields over the best of our crop may have averaged 10 bushels/acre or 6 quintals/ha, however averaging the complete crop brought down the average to less than 3 bushels/acre, or 2 quintals/ha.  This has forced regrouping at many levels but Morrell Agro is determined to find success during the next rainy season which statistically yields more rain  in February through May than September through Oct.  Clearing continued and is now at over 3,200 hectares of cultivated ground and is our goal to plant for the next rainy season.

Now on the brighter side
We had the moving opportunity while my family was there  to complete a service project initiated from our church primary from in Idaho.  They put together packets of pencils, erasers and rulers to be handed out to children in Ethiopia.  Close to our farm is a small village called Goro Raya that has a humble school with meager supplies.  
   My wife took my Daughter Morgan, her husband Andrew and two daughters along with Haile (farm manager), Ashreka (our maid) and Zakir (my junior assitant) to surprise the students with the supplies brought from Idaho.  

Shelley showing a picture of our primary group from Idaho 


Two of the the teachers showing the extent of their school supplies.

Shelley also brought a large map of the World and of Africa.  Shelley pointed out where Idaho was and where they were lived in Ethiopia on the continent of Africa.  It was apparent that they lacked geography skills since they had no maps at the school.   She then handed over the maps to the school to pin on their wall.

Ashreka showing emotion of what she was witnessing.  Many others of our group were emotional at the power of love and charity.

The school had nothing to give in return but much thanks and two papayas the the teacher gave in ceremonial manner to Zakir.

Here is a large piece of paper signed by all the students saying "Galatooma" (Thank you)

Please see a video of the experience that Morgan and Andrew put together:

All our family returned home together soon before Thanksgiving 2010 and only I have returned since.  Things are evolving at the farm in Ethiopia to where I step aside as the project director and let others fill the void.  I continue with Morrell Agro Industries as a consultant and advisor which will bring me back to Ethiopia a few times a year for about a month at a time.  My wife Shelley will likely not return with me during these visits which has been very sad for our close friends in Ethiopia.  She has been a good example and a mother figure to many of them and a strong support to me while there.  I thank her for this and admire her strengths and abilities.  I will continue to post as I can find the time now I divide my time between my farm in Idaho and consult in Ethiopia.  Thanks for being patient as the posts have become infrequent.  


Rowboat said...

hi there. i realize you are no longer in ethiopia, but i am hoping you may have some insight for me. my husband and i live in portland oregon. i work with the department of veterans affairs, housing homeless veterans as a social worker. we are looking to do some work in africa, and are trying to find a good organization or service to go through. can you recommend any to me, based on your experience? thank you so much.

SanJu said...

Hi alan..... this is srujan. thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It is wonderful readng your blog. Can you tell me your mail address so that I can mail you. My email id:
cheers. take care