How do we measure the value of our days. Each culture seems to judge the value of a day based on different values. In the US the economist has taught us well that productivity should be our primary yardstick. So any “good” American judges whether his day was a success or failure based his own personal production; for this is what we’ve been taught makes us good upstanding citizens. Our primary contribution to society is how much we produce. Each profession has it’s own unit of measure. The farmer measures in rows, the carpenter in nails, the factory worker in widgets, the banker in dollars. All of these are easily quantifiable so that they can be entered into tables and plotted on graphs. If our graphs show a steady upward trend then we can hold our heads high as we walk through town.
Of course, if we fail to meet our expected production for the day we must develop many excuses for our poor citizenship. Therefore if the farmer only gets 5 rows plowed and planted and the carpenter only drives one box of nails they must at once pray for rain so that they can continue to hold their standing in society. They should also pray that no one saw them driving back from their early morning fishing trip with boat in tow.
It’s been rather quiet the last couple of weeks. We’ve been enjoying our time in the country, or as Nega says, “the bush.” Unfortunately during our time outside of Addis, we didn’t have internet access. Our lack of internet access allowed us access to a lot of other things such as beautiful scenery, hot showers, fresh wutet (milk), birds, frog calls, lots of wonderful people and a glimpse at at jib (hyena). We were only an hour outside of Addis but it made all the difference.
We had the opportunity to visit an agriculture project owned by the Kale Heywet Church. The project is located beside beautiful Lake Kuriftu, one of the crater lakes that the area is known for. Jonathan visited the site in January but we came back to get more information and hopefully gather ideas for the agriculture project for CHE. The agriculture project is just part of the work that the Kale Heywet Church does in Debre Zeit. They also have a school that the agriculture project helps to fund and an orphanage. Many of the children who grew up in the orphanage are young adults now and attending various schools and universities. Jess worked with some of the students a few evenings on their conversational English. They got a lesson or two in American southern dialect. If there are any more southern foringe that come and visit they will be ready!
Most of our time over the last two weeks has been spent cruising at a relaxing pace. We had the opportunity to hike and photograph birds. We visited with many of the farm workers and helped when and where we could. For several days the first week we helped plant seed flats in the greenhouse. One afternoon we weeded rows of onions. Like most of our time in Ethiopia, the people have made us feel welcome and loved.
We have few excuses for our lack of productivity over the last two weeks, but we do have one pretty good one,TIA (This Is Africa). Anyone who has ever been here has heard this many times and understands its meaning very well. The economist has not yet educated Africa. We measured our days during these last two weeks based on the number of greetings given and received, friendships made, birds spotted and photographed, and pages of a favorite book read. Judged by these criteria we were very successful. So we face no social disgrace here. We offer this excuse to hold whatever social standing that we have back home.