Visit to the agricultural and women's projects around Afar
On the weekend a team of three teachers and a project leader travels to Afar where Passion Connect Ethiopia (PCE) teaches shepherds to practice agriculture along the Awash River. It takes 10 hours to drive the 600 kilometers: they see among others a flock of ostriches running ...
This is their report:
The road is good: it is the only and therefore main road from Debre Zeyt to Djibouti, the single supply port of Ethiopia. On the right of the road we see how the Afar shepherds live in their shed’s. We really wonder how they survive this heat. Next to the road we also see run into animals and broken down lorries.
We spend the night at the Basha Bush Hotel in Aysseita: it is in the open air. After our long drive and with temperatures of 42 degrees Celsius it is swell to rest on these beds for a while.
Our two Ethiopian partners, Alem Kiros van Passion Connects Ethiopia en Aniley Amentie van Development Expertise Center, have put together a great program for us. They take good care of us and seem to enjoy our company too.
And while the sun slowly sets, we prepare to go to bed. The mosquito nets are carefully tightened around our beds. It is a full moon tonight, the singing of the birds has stopped; they all found a place for the night. We enjoy the sounds of the African night: cricket sounds fill the night, the hyena’s call and the dogs repeat by barking unremittingly …
Our goal for this trip and part of the project are the allotment gardens along the Awash River. They were created by Afar men and women. From above here you can see very clearly the difference between the dry, rocky grounds above and the fertile river bed down below. It is the water that makes all the distinction. The Awash River meanders for 2.000 kilometers through Ethiopia, enough changes for agricultural and a lot of potential new participants to the project.
We visit a women’s Group who participate in a literacy programme and we also visit one of the men who wants to show us his shed.
These peoples make a immense impression on us: they live in a dry desert, drink camel milk and stay in simple huts or sheds. These are regularly wrapped up, tied up to the camels so they can move to another location. Will they urge to roam ever disappear?
As we leave this Afar village, we move on to the next to meet another women’s group. Their colourful appearance fits well in the brown, sandy coloured landscape. Even the doors of the school are a beautiful contrast. We talk about the literacy programme and the increase of the agriculture.
This women’s group has organized themselves within a Community Based Organisation. They learn how to write, do simple calculations and ask for more opportunities to learn more about agriculture and irrigation. Food for men and animal is leading is this setting.
We say good bye to the Afar women’s group en drive back to Awash. These last pictures remind us of another time and age and again we wonder ‘How do they survive?’. What an immense difference from the way we do our shopping and how we keep our animals.