Saturday, July 14, 2012

A traditional Ethiopian family

During the field campaign of my project, I followed some enumerators and joint the interview. The first farmer, i interviewed was a traditional Ethiopian family. The husband and head of household decided to answer our questions and sat down with us. His wife was working in the field and the two kids very soon ended up sitting next to me. Their oldest son was at school. 
The first thing that stroke me was the fact that he as well as his son wore shoes, whereas the wife and the daughter were barefoot. Also he did not know the age of the children and needed to ask his wife. Both wife and husband are illiterate, the oldest son can read and write. 
This household owns 3,5 timat of land (almost a hectare) on which they grow potatoes, wheat and barley. He also does some crop-sharing on plots of other farmers. He makes compost to improve soil quality, and also uses fertilizers. Also all his land was terraces, and animal movement within the land was limited and partially fed in a cut-and-carry system. He got lot of agricultural advise from the extension services over the past years. Also the district administration gave seeds for farmers on credit, that needs to be reimbursed after the harvesting. The household can live about 11 months from their own production. On Saturday, they go to the market in the nearest town and sell some of their products caring them on the horse or on their head. For buying livestock, cloth and agricultural input the go the a bigger town.
They have seen their neighbor planting apple trees and would like to plan apples too. But they don't have a well or other source of water to irrigate the young apple trees during the dry season. They think that apple is a very profitable business. This is an interesting statement as the oldest tree in the area is 3 year old and none of the apple tree in the area did provide any benefit to anyone. It is an anticipated business and no one really know if there will be a value chain for these apples... 

The wife is part of a women's association which allows her to access information about health and family planning. The association also helps out selected women with a credit, of which she did not benefit.
I asked the girl about her dream, she did not answer as she is not allow to talk. Her father explained to me that she is going to become a doctor and help people to be healthy...
Despite of all the work and difficulty this family is facing on a daily base, they gave me the feeling that they were happy...

1 comment: