Rain and Mud

It's the wet season here in Ethiopia and the rain comes and goes each day with alarming regularity. Even if the morning dawns fine and still, by the afternoon the heavy rain can make doing anything pretty much impossible. Still, it certainly give me time to catch up on the office administration. For a couple of mornings we awoke to sound of rain and collectively all rolled over and went back to sleep.

The problem is not so much getting wet, or even getting covered in mud, it is the paralysing effect the rain has on the roads. The last sealed road is many hours travel away. Around here all roads are carved out of the hills sides and consist either of bone jarring rock, or raw clay. In dry conditions the clay surface is fine, hard and fast travel. When wet though, even with a light shower, the surface becomes slick with a film of wet clay. On an attempted trip to the next town of Lasho the four wheel drive vehicle I was in almost made the top of a small rise before the wheels lost traction. The driver Marsha hit the brakes but even with all four wheels locked up we gently slid forty meters back down the hill, turning 180 degrees in the progress. It was clearly a hint from the car and road in unison to give up and head back home.

A nutrition project like this relies on a large amount of supplies being available for the treatment and feeding programs. Usually 25 or 50 ton trucks roll up loaded to the hilt and unload into massive warehouse tents. Here though only little Isuzu trucks carrying three and half ton are able to make the trip, and even then only with difficulty. To help deal with the mud and hills and breakdowns there are twenty trucks traveling in two convoys of ten, all trying to get supplies through to us here in Wamura, and to the sister project over the hill in Gocho. Alas, with limited success.

Apart from the fact that convoys only seem to arrive on Sundays, destroying any chance of a day off, they are also destroying the road. I helped try to organise a road repair gang on the particular section of road I call the Lasho slide, but after a day in the mist and rain at 2,500m, all we achieved was six trucks pushed and pulled by 50 people to the top of the hill and further destruction of the road.

If the rain continues we will be cut off completely, though two and half tons of famix have arrived by a string of 30 donkeys. Where there's a will there's a way!


nor said…
Hi Richard,
My name is Noriko, a pharmacist in Gocho from September. Your blog was the only result by "Gocho Ethiopia" and i'm luckey to find you :).


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