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Ethiopia XVII   1972–74

Thanks to Steve Finch who sent a copy of the group mug book and wrote:

Notes about Ethiopia Group XVII - December, 2003 — 30 years after the greatest experience in my life.

There were originally 17 in this group. My impression is that it was put together on very short notice. I had about 30 days between notification in March 1972 and reporting for staging in Atlanta, GA. I had sent in an application in late November or early December, 1971, and had received a note in late January or February, 1972, that there weren't positions available right then.
     We had staging at CDC (Centers for Disease control) because most of the group were going as small pox eradication PCVs. I think, of the 17 of us, that 3 were for agriculture, one from home ec, 1 or 2 for phys ed, and the rest for small pox eradication.
     We left the US on Friday, April 28. Atlanta > NY (via TWA 747) > Rome. We got in Rome in the morning and were put up in a hotel at Ostia-Lido until our flight on Ethiopian Airlines in late afternoon.
     Jay Rowland and I were perhaps a bit foolhardy, but it worked out fine. We got directions — took the train from Ostia-Lido to the central Rome station. Took a double decker bus from there to Vatic an City. Got off in st. Peter's Square, walked in one entrance near the Pieta which would be attacked the next year, walked to the main altar, looked at the Galdashino and then went down — I think the main aisle — back to the square, caught another bus to the central train station, the train back to Ostia-Lido and had tome for a shower before leaving to catch our Ethiopian Airlines flight. Not bat for 2 farm boys — one from Georgia, the other, Michigan.
     The flight from Rome to Ethiopia (Addis Ababa) left about 7–8 pm. About daylight we stopped in Asmara — stayed on the plane. And then arrived in Addis Ababa — maybe 9 or 10 am.
     Our first week was spent at the Iteague Menon Hotel. Started language and acclimation to altitude. One of the group quit and returned home the first week — don't remember exactly who.
     At the end of the 1st or 2nd week, we went 500 KM west to Wollega Province as the guests of the director of ALEM Co. — to witness his wedding in his mother's village. It was too bad we were so new to the country, otherwise we would have enjoyed the food a lot more.
     When we came back from the wedding, we moved our training site to Awasa on Lake Awasa for 2 or 3 weeks. Then we went out on a site visit. I went to Gemu Gofa — where I was to work in an agriculture resettlement site. The PCV already there who was due to leave extended for a year. So I had to find another site. We came back to Awasa for more culture and language. There was a 2nd site visit — since I didn't have on — I went north to the village north of Makele with Mel Bomke. We could have flown back, but we (Mel, Jim a trainer, and I) took a 3-day bus trip back to Addis. A great experience.
     The last couple of weeks of training were in Bahr Dar west and north across the Blue Nile. We finished our training about the middle of July. By that time, it was decided to put me as ag-school gardening instructor in Harar. We went back to Addis and dispersed to our sites.
     I was there 2 school years until I terminated 4 July 1974 and left country a week later. During that time I

  • Taught 600 students a year — making school gardens, small animal care, bee keeping.
  • Visited all provinces of Ethiopia.
  • Went to Djibouti twice and rode around there with friends I had met.
  • Walked with some of my students to Kalubi from Harar (50 KM) for the January 1974 Festival of Gabriel Kalubi)
  • Played bridge on Friday nights — there were 10 or more nationalities in our bridge club.
  • Showed my future wife around part of Ethiopia when she came in the summer of 1973.
Dates of Service
Email & websites
Smallpox eradication (SEP)
David O. Bourne 1972–74
Dennis Burley 1972– no contact information
Michael L. Felton 1972– no contact information
Karl F. Moseley 1972 Jimma drmoseley
E.J. (Jay) Rowland 1972–74 Awasa, Gojjam
R. Mark Weeks 1972– Gondar; Arba Minch
Mel Bomke 1972- a village north of Makele no contact information
Steven N. Finch 1972-74 Harar
Glenn Wells 1972 - Jimma no contact information
Home ec and Phys ed
Thomas W. Farmer 1972
Pam Noble 1972– no contact information
Unknown area of work
Dexter Fairbanks 1972–73 Dessie, Wollo
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