Sunday, March 08, 2020

On the flight home, when breakfast was served, the Ethiopian Airlines flight attendant asked me if I wanted eggs, pancakes, or ful. Normally I find airplane breakfast uninspiring but my ears perked up when she said ful. This is a bean dish cooked with pepper and other spices and is usually served with fresh baked bread. Really delicious. So right away I asked for the ful. Then very next second though, I thought, "Oh, they would never serve ful on an international flight, she must have meant "full" as in eggs plus pancakes." I figured I was having one of those weird cultural transition moments, not quite knowing what context I was in and hearing something from the wrong place or time. So imagine my delight upon opening the foil lid to discover that, a) I had heard things correctly, and b) I was going to get to enjoy ful one last time on this trip. I was so excited I almost went back to the service area to tell the flight crew that was the best airplane breakfast ever but I thought they might think I was a crazy person. Seriously though, best airline breakfast ever.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

A native species of olive that is often found in church forests. We are planting thousands of these to help reinvigorate these forests which are often centuries old but experiencing heavy encroachment from neighbouring farmland

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Frankincense. Yup, same as the 3 wise men. Part of drinking coffee in Ethiopia

Saturday, February 29, 2020

This morning I uploaded this file--a geospatial pdf. This shows 3 watersheds in Ethiopia and lets the user check their phone and figure out where they are relative to watershed boundaries. Why would I want to do this? Knowing where you are in a watershed is important to planning for example for tree planting activities. The upper parts of a watershed tend to be especially critical and are often the source of rivers that supply water to the rest of the system. Knowing where you are then means you can decide where is best to plant and what is best to plant. A simple file like this, easy to read on any phone can help farmers make the best use of their time and resources in restoring the environment.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

It is hard for me to believe that someone of such great integrity like the late Reverend Billy Graham would support someone of so little integrity like Donald Trump. That just doesn't compute for me.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Chips Mayai. Basically a French fry omelette and a common local dish. So a travel tip: if you are looking for something reliable, fast, and not a stomach risk. I would say order chips mayai. Nearly every restaurant will have it, price will be good, and you can be on your way in a reasonable time.
I mean I don't think anyone is going to see a plate of chips mayai going by and say, "I'll have what they're having.", but it's a case of the safe bet over culinary adventure.

One of the brand new groups we surveyed this week have decided that their group name is Yes We Can. Hearing that actually brought a tear to my eye, realizing the hope that this group has and the optimism about what they can achieve. Also it is encouraging that the words of a world leader can still inspire in a time when hatred and hostility seem to be the currency of leadership.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Farmers voting in a participatory exercise (focus group) on sources of income. Trying to measure income is elusive, kind of a holy grail of this work. This exercise you see here is a new thing for us and it seems to be a promising balance between amount of work and getting reliable information. Still a lot of field testing to do to prove the concept though...