Two weeks ago, I traveled to four separate prospective Ethiopia Reads' project sites in Kembate-Tembaro. We were there to finish the last round of community and build land assessments. A wealth of community information was gathered, important contacts were made, and land was even officially donated to Ethiopia Reads on behalf of the community. These experiences and information were combined with that previously gathered by Ethiopia Reads project officers. Over the last week, the Ethiopia Reads office staff and myself spent days calling and recalling various officials, and finishing the creation of thorough financial processes to assist in purchasing and recording build material procurement. We have all worked very hard to get to where we are this evening: we are beginning the next school build in Kembata-Temabaro on November 9th.
We are currently planning on building two schools in the region over the next 7 months. The first will be most likely in the mountains north of Shinshicho in a town called Washo, the second will most likely be within the foothills AzeDabo. The reason why I say most likely is because the order may not be completely set. The severity of incline and quality of the “road” leading to Washo was not welcoming to motorist of any kind. The motorcycles we took to get to Washo were even unable to make it all the way there. When we visited the site we explained to the community that for us to build there, at least 3 kilometers of beat up mountain donkey roads must be widened and flattened so that a literal dump truck could make its way up to the school site. The community instantly volunteered their time, and the following day began the 2 week long process of fixing the road.
Yesterday, a local dump truck driver visited the road on foot and gave it a big thumbs up. What a hard working community huh? On Tuesday of next week the road will be tested with a dump truck full of boulders. If there are no problems, the driver will head back down and prepare to make nearly 50 more trips toting 10's of thousands of pounds of wood, rock, cement, and aggregate. However if the truck is unable to make it, we will delay the Washo build until later this build season and begin work in the very accessible town od AzeDabo. We all are incredibly anxious for the upcoming test. But remember, if it doesn’t go well, the community will have the next two months to ready the road so building can commence in early January.
The following photos are few more from our last visit, as well as a couple from Kololo. Proof that a big ol dump trucks, albeit very very old, has a tough time negotiating the twist and turns of mountain roads.
|The school land|
|What a portion of the road now looks like.|
|The Ethiopia Reads's management crew's housing and material storage... its an old sunday school.|
|Our luxurious bathroom. It might need some work.|
|What the road looked like before. Its the rocky section to the right|
|Small trucks and big trucks alike have issues with Ethiopian off road driving|
|3/4 of the Kololo crew had to help push and pull this guy out.|