Watering cans, rainfall and fences in Fiche

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Etse-Fewus Association member, Gule, in Fiche

Things are going well in Fiche! The Etse-Fewus (Healing Herbs) Association are proving to be a very resourceful and active group, working together on their new community herb garden.

Last year,  the Association showed local council they were dedicated to preserving their herbal medicine traditions by cultivating their own household herbal gardens. They were rewarded with the donation of a block of land to cultivate as a community medicinal garden, an outstanding achievement.

I recently received an important update from Tessema Bekele, CEO of the Emmanuel Development Foundation and Liaison Officer for Botanica Ethiopia.  Tessema regularly travels to Fiche to check on progress and to support and encourage the Etse-Fewus Association in their endeavours.  This is the message from Tessema received in September 2012:

“Warm greetings from Ethiopia. Yesterday I met with the Fiche people and discussed the current status of their association. The following progress is made:

  • They bought fencing wood by the contribution of the members for the common garden;
  • They’ve started preparing the common garden, but still needs more effort, since it has grasses for grazing and is virgin land .

Other good news is that they received sufficient rain for the last three months, so that they can easily plant the herbs now.”

And a further message in November:

“Here things at Fiche are working well and the members of the Association are highly motivated and working for the common garden. Currently they are underway to make fencing and contributing their labor and materials for fencing. However, they are in need of some barbed wire to make the fence very strong.The wire is expensive for them to purchase and they asked me to match their funds to finalize the fencing. Considering their motivation and commitment, I told them I will forward their request to you, together with their request for hand tools and watering cans.”

This was excellent news and Botanica Ethiopia was happy to match the Association’s funds; a commitment of $5,100 was sent in December 2012 to the newly opened Etse-Fewus bank account. This means that a good foundation will be laid.

From humble beginnings in 2011, when a group of householders and a skilled and committed priest-herbalist gathered to share their knowledge and discuss the dire threat to their traditional medicine upon which every family relies, this is a substantial achievement. It is proof that small projects such as this, with a little support, can achieve lasting, tangible benefits for the broader community.  All the women and men involved are very busy simply getting on with life, which at the best of times can be a hard struggle – but they have given of one of their most precious resources, their time, in order to get this happening.

Tessema will be visiting Fiche again soon to check on progress and we hope to then have some photos of the newly fenced garden to share!

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