Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Predeparture Thoughts

Hi Everyone,

On May 7th, 2010 I will be on my way to Jimma, Ethiopia. I am going on a three and a half month work term for a project entitled Post Harvest Management to Improve Livelihoods (PHIML), In-part funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), with in kind contributions from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) and McGill University.

Post Harvest management is a critical practice within agriculture. Post harvest management is basically the way that people take care of agricultural products (Handling, storage, transportation and processing) after they have been harvested and before they have been consumed. Ethiopia, is a nation that is highly dependent on agriculture. Approximately ninety percent of Ethiopia’s GDP comes from Agriculture, however Ethiopia continues to lose a huge amount of crops due to problems with post harvest management. These losses may come from; rodents, microorganisms, fungus or other factors such as physical damages and bruising.

McGill and NSAC have partnered with CIDA and an Ethiopian university (Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine JUCAVM) to start a project, developing a program at the university to increase the resources and training to promote post harvest management. As students from across Ethiopia, and other parts of Africa study at the school they can bring back what they have learned to other communities and reduce the amount of harvest losses by implementing the knowledge from the program through community based education.

I am one of two students from NSAC that will be working in Ethiopia this summer, as well as various members of the faculty that will be in and out throughout the summer to conduct training of the faculty at JUCAVM. My roles as an intern aren’t completely clear to me yet, but they will become so as I begin my placement upon arrival. However, it is fair to say that this is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am beyond ecstatic to have been selected for such a great first step; a first chance to experience international development, an interesting and new way to learn about the importance agriculture in both a local and international context, and finally finding out a little more about what I want with my life.

I leave Canada on May 7th, 2010 and will return the 20th of August, 2010. I’ll be gone around 100 days. It is a possibility due to unforeseen circumstances that communication between me, and my friends and family back home in Canada may be infrequent and sporadic. I am hoping to compile a list of friends and family email addresses. So that I might be able to send out a mass email when I do have news, a few minutes to write and access to internet. If you write an email and do not hear immediately, please understand that power and/or internet may not be working. Ethiopia is a developping country that is still building up infrastructure. I welcome your emails, messages or blog comments.

I will be living in dormitory style residence, and it is unclear at this point whether or not I will have a roommate. It is highly likely that I will be sharing a room with my friend David, who is the second student intern going. I will be sleeping, and eating Ethiopian food such as wots and injera.

I would like to thank everyone for their support and understanding for me as I take on this new adventure. I wish everyone a happy and healthy summer.




  1. Hey there Paul, I always knew I would see great things from you...I am so proud of you and look forward to reading about your journey. Have fun!
    Joyce(aka:Ms Carter)

  2. Thanks so much Ms Carter! I'm already having a blast, it is so amazing here. I think you would love it, it's colourful and beautiful and everyone is very nice.

    Have an excellent summer.


  3. Paul ! This just boggles my mind :D I cant believe your in Ethiopia! that is soo amazing, and I hope you are having the time of your life , PLUS MORE :D enjoy your summer !!
    Jen <3

  4. haha I think I did that wrong, it says anonymous, lol anyway! that last comment is from me, Jenny Beck, in case that was unclear ! haha