Going to the Ethiopian countryside, speaking to the local farmers and listen to their stories would be a highlight, we expected that before. We didn’t expect it to be such an intense, remarkable and extraordinary experiences though. Coming back 60 minutes ago, there are still so many impressions in my head it’s hard to write everything down.
So I will just start with something that totally amazed me: the beauty of the countryside in Ethiopia. There were so many different landscapes, starting with very flat, endless green land, then continuing with a very mountainous area with lots of typical trees, finally changing again to a heavily vegetated nature with a lot of water.
But the real treasure of this country are its people. During our site trip we visited all kinds of iDE stakeholders like the local office managers, the farmers, the local government, the manufacturer, a smallholder bank and the iDE farming school. Everywhere, people welcomed us with a big smile, shared their stories and made this trip a unique experience.
Just two examples of the amazing people and stories we got to know:
Getu, a local farmer in the Walisa district who bought a water pump, financed by iDE and the smallholder bank. With this pump, Getu is not only able to harvest one time per year (as usual in Ethiopia as there is only enough water during rainy season) but now has constant water supplies for his fields even in the dry period, so that he can now harvest three times.
The farming school developed by iDE to give job-less farmers the opportunity to learn about high value crop planting like peppers, onions and chilies. Instead of paying them, they will be provided with a certain amount of the harvest, which they can then themselves sell at local markets to make the most out of it. With the knowledge about the high value agricultural methods they can then continue to plant these expensive crops on their own lands and improve their families’ lives sustainably.
Besides that, we heard many other touching and inspiring stories which I will surely share at some other point here in this blog. My summary so far for the day: I can completely understand now how someone can fall in love with Ethiopia, its nature and its people. I hope I will keep these experiences with me forever – as we can just learn so much from these people about happiness, optimism and making the best out of what you have.