ETHIOPIA, FEBRUARY 1991

Date: 
23/02/1991
Country: 
ETHIOPIA

23 February 1991
I am at ILCA, Ethiopia. I feel a bit bad because of what happened to FAO. I have been back in Scotland for far too long. I feel rather bored though I should not. Life in the lab is going as usual. Hermanto has left but two more students are coming. I have almost finished my book on rural development. I am stopping in Rome just to change planes, but I am going to stop at ILCA soon. It is time to go again to areas where there are real problems. I had visitors from Czechoslovakia the week before I left. I think it is the stimulation of travel and impulses leave me feeling bored and restless at home. I was disappointed with FAO but do not know what to do about it. I am now going to ILCA and from there I am spending a week in Kenya. I hope it will restore my sanity.

24 February 1991
I am now in the guesthouse at ILCA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The ILCA man was there to meet me at the airport. I have had a very lazy Sunday. I went to the Zebu Club for lunch and met a few of the relevant people there. Tonight I have had dinner with Babeko, a Finnish chap. I think the next few weeks will be a great deal more interesting and fruitful than the last few weeks.

 

25 February 1991
My first day at ILCA, very enjoyable so far. I am beginning to feel at home here and it is nice to be back on the tropical scene. I shudder to think how I am going to survive later in life without spending part of my time in the tropics in the developing countries.

26 February 1991
Today has been very exciting. There were thousands of soldiers in the area where we went due to political causes. We went to see some of the same farmers we saw last time. A very interesting story about crossbred animals; the milk from crossbreds is better sold as milk as it contains more water and less fat. The milk from local animals is sold as Aip,? a cheeze product and Ghee the fat as it is much richer. Tomorrow we go to Debra Berhan again. It is possible that John Walsh will come too. I will also visit the school I visited last time. The war in the gulf appears to be coming to an end; Saddam Hussein had ordered his troops out of Kuwait.

27 February 1991
The war in the gulf appears to be finished. Went to Debra Berhan today, not all that interesting a station; in fact I did not learn much more than when I was there last time but I did meet up with the school to deliver the packages of clothes ?from Aberdeen.

28 February 1991
Today has been particularly useful I, eventually phoned the Rowett to find out what was happening there. They do not seem to live up to their expectations.

 

3 March 1991
I spent Friday with Serbini at Holleta; he is doing fascinating work of draught cattle. We had a fine Italian meal with his family, and returned home rather late. The driver was a little angry since he had to walk home as there were no taxis due to the fuel problem here. Yesterday was Saturday. The great event was a shopping spree with Mrs Vavico. I bought a few interesting items also some for sale later. Today is Sunday and it is very quiet. I went up to the street with a Sudanese chap and had coffee in a very small and rather dingy place. The Sudanese chap actually wanted to make a deal with a young girl; I eventually left him to his business. The girl was telling us everything that had gone on since Halli Selassie. Today I am going to phone Craigiepark.

4 March 1991
Debre Zeit. This place is just beautiful; the guesthouse is on the lake full of birdsong. The group up here is a good one; I must admit here I have a part to play to smooth the path for them all. The research here could be fantastic.

6 March 1991
This is fantastic; I have had three parties on every night in my honour. Tomorrow morning I will go and walk on the lakeside. This is a volcanic crater filled with water. The birdlife is so wonderful; weaver birds are making beautiful houses for their mates.

7 March 1991
ILCA guesthouse. This morning I got up at 6 am and walked to the lake again with Dr Cherrington; he knows about birds. It was such a nice occasion. We had a meeting all day and tonight a barbecue to celebrate again. There was a group of Russians there. I was particularly impressed by a girl called Olga with her dancing; she was a fantastic dancer. Today I had congratulations from the group at home on FRSE business and also a copy of the official letter from the Committee of the Royal Society.

10 March 1991
I will be going to Kenya, but now I am returning to Addis. I had a very stimulating chat with a Kenyan. I came back to ILCA yesterday. I phoned home from John and Gill’s house. They are nice people, but like chalk and cheese – John worries, Gill doesn’t. Last night I went to listen to the Messiah in St Michael’s Church, in fact Mr Gill was singing in it – excellent. I met the British Ambassador who told me of a meeting tonight at the Embassy to discuss security. I had a talk with Hank today, then with Abdullah Said and have been writing. Now I am at the Embassy to meet the Ambassador, he speaks Danish, he was once engaged to a Danish girl. The security is interesting. The front is coming closer to Addis, maybe the government will fall, wives and children are advised to go home as soon as possible because of the Tigrians coming in to attack Addis Ababa. Some people are worried; others like me feel rather excited about being in the midst of history in the making. I called Denmark for my father’s birthday; also Joan as hers is approaching too.

Today I have virtually completed my report with a good Ethiopian secretary. She wants to be my wife, even if it’s number two! An exciting trip this has been. In Addis Ababa many women and children have taken the advice of leaving I think. It’s stupid; Ethiopians have had enough. I don’t think the Ethiopians are going to do a lot of looting in Addis as the soldiers come in, they have had enough and they will not go mad. ?They took it well, all of them. Maybe I am returning in August, at the beginning or the end. Sir Kenneth Blaxter sent me a letter of congratulation, on my OBE. I heard he was ill but in my letter to him I pretended not to know.