Had looong day out of the normal Azedebo/Fundame routine. Ejigu, Temesgin, Sigamo, and I made the drive to Mudula today. The 108 mile round trip took nearly five and a half hours. The time in between, was spent in some very productive meetings, and program/site visits. We debarked at 8 am and returned at 10 pm, famished and dust coated. Was an eventful, and at times frightening ride. Though out here, with these "roads" and our work, I wouldn't expect anything less. And to be honest, Im pretty dang elated that not a minute of the day was spent in a busyard or on the back of a gas truck.
We tried to do too much. Its Ethiopia, correction its rural southern Ethiopia, things dont go as planned, let alone happen on time often. Yet we were committed to try to fit as much in as possible so not to take away from our work in Azedebo and Fundame.
To begin the day we visited Kololo to help with last minute preparations for Kololo's first Horse Powered Library Program. Legessa, Sallamnesh's father, as well as a former volunteer neighborhood preschool eacher was chosen as the perfect candidate to facilitate the regions revamped Donkey Mobile Library. We of course had some of the local fare, washed it down with butter coffee and then watched Lagessa trot off towards Tupa to initate the first program. It went wonderfully. Local kebele officials came out, as well as over 20 children and some excited family and friends. Ejigu and I explained the program, held a Q and A and listened in as Sigamo shared stories of our work in his own community. Everyone was won over, and then Lagessa took the reins.
We didnt have time to stay for the duration of the program because of a full Mudula docket. We had plans to meet with Worader (regional) officials to discuss, and do some general problem solving for next year’s two school/ library builds, as well as finalize the process for submission of design of the Degale Weema International and ER KT hub. It was also market day. The attending kebele officials kindly asked if there was room for them in the car... we all piled in and headed off.
14 people in a 15 year old Ethiopian Landcruiser, on some of the roughest roads Ive ever traveled on (recent rains have eroded the dirt and gravel roads to the point of being partial ravines). Part of the car’s rear suspension completely failed. Getch (our driver and good friend) and I climbed under and temporarily tied together the broken parts to make the rest of the journey to the city. Somehow we made it. Ejigu I visited with the officials, Sigamo went to market with Temsgin, and Getch found the closest mechanic.
Meetings were delayed but they were very positive. We have a followup this upcoming Friday to finalize the build site for the Mudula city KG, visit potential beneficiarry communities, and receive a detailed rubric for in city construction project submission. It was already 330, but Ejigu and I decided that we should push through hunger pains and get up to the Koshinda spring while we had the chance.
We happily spent the next 2.5 hours climbing up and down small mountains tracking the projects progress with a couple of the site managers. We were able to meet with community member assisting on the project, as all as walk the route of the first couple kilometers the piping will follow. It was some of the most beautiful landscapes I have seen in all of KT, and a much appreciated respite from our short lived visit to Mudula. Market days arnt to kind to white guy with depleted patience reserves.
At 6 we piled into the car, along with a few Kololo friends that happened to be in Mudula, and headed home. Originally we hoped to also visit the Ambakuna clinic to check in on the use of Clinic at a Times recent material donations, but thats before it started to get dark. By the time we reached Tuno, it was black, the roads were full of people and animals, and the air was thick with dust from passing dumptrucks and seemingly un-phased bus drivers. Were traveling back to Mudula next week with a less intense schedule, no real harm done.
We got home safely, only had to make a single pit stop to adjust some of the Mudula "mechanics" wielding. Driving at night in Ethiopia should be avoided, but driving in KT at night is now forbidden by me and the ER field management team. According to my local buddies I'm about as habasha as ferengies get, though it will be a while before I develop that fatalistic attitude that so many out here showcase when transporting themselves at night.
The photos tell the story just as well.
|Good ol Kololo|
|Lagessa and fam|
|Alazar, Temesgin's son is a little unsure of his new Ethiopian L.A. lights|
|Legessa and steed after galloping in|
|Local kebele officials enjoying the program|
|Charlie Brown shot|
|Everyone happy to get a ride|
|The springs tap point|
|Ejigu testing out the water; "yea, it probably clean."|
|The piping trench|
|Ejigu and I agreed that the water access points just look like thrones|
|Second water access point|
|Pit stop 2|