Wednesday June 26, 2007
News from Adwa
I was at the woreda administration office the other day (“city hall”). There was a couple there who had found a newborn baby abandoned by their neighbours, in a plastic bag with some clothes. The neighbours who found the baby are going to keep it, and they were asking for some financial support from the woreda.
There are a lot of abandoned babies in Adwa, some with neighbours and family members, and some at the orphanages. One baby that made his way to the Italian orphanage about a year ago now was found in a basket in the river, like Moses. I guess the good news is that somebody is taking care of them, and that, at least in the town, there’s now the beginnings of supportive infrastructure, so this family that’s taking on their neighbours’ baby can ask the woreda for help.
My guard didn’t come the other day because his wife had been beaten by one of their neighbours. Their animals strayed onto the neighbour’s land; first he beat the sheep and goats with a stick, and then he beat the woman. Fortunately, some other people intervened and stopped him, but she was hurt somewhat seriously. I don’t know exactly why his response was so strong, but I do know that the environmental degradation caused by overgrazing is a very serious problem. Without condoning beating people, I can understand why the farmer wouldn’t want someone else’s animals grazing on his land.
Finally, my colleague’s brother in law died on the weekend from a snake bite. He was working as a shepherd in a very rural area a bit west of here, and it took more than a day to reach the hospital, by which time it was too late. He was only in his early twenties, and left behind a wife and young child.
The rainy season is well upon us. We’re experiencing very dramatic storms most days, accompanied by almost-daily electricity failures and frequent phone and internet problems. And it’s very cold. But the brown desert of a few months ago is being replaced by lush greenery. People are planting and even harvesting corn, and beginning to plant teff.