Rural Tigrai: Earth Dam Changing Lives!
(Aigaforum) 01-28-17 - Most visitors’ first impression about Ethiopia is based on what they see in the cities and towns they travel. That is why most news about Ethiopia is filled with awe about Addis expansion and the many high rise buildings! I happen to be raised in the countryside and every time I visit Ethiopia I am more interested to see the trees and shrubs and the development work in the countryside.
One among the few development work that caught my eyes over the years in northern Ethiopia is the vast terracing and rehabilitation work of the land. It is amazing how much the land that was scarred by war has been rehabilitated! Shrubs and trees in most areas I visited now cover the landscape that was barren few years back.
Lately the long asphalted roads as well as the many earth dam works that will certainly change the lives of the proud people in the countryside have caught my eyes. I visited a big earth dam near Rama close to the Eritrean border in Northern Ethiopia. Despite the uneasy truce between Ethiopia and Eritrea the dam work near the town of Rama is nearly completed. It is expected to irrigate over 2000 hectares when the irrigation ditches are completed. So far close to 500 hectares have been developed and saw a varieties of fruits and vegetables fields besides the usual cornfields!
Looking down from the top of the dam one can see the vast flat land that will be irrigated when the irrigation canals are complete. Rama has been known for its vegetable and fruit in the old days due to a small irrigated land nearby to the river. And the famous Adi Arbate flat land is known for its sorghum and peanuts. Who can forget the song theme “Mishela Adi Arbate Tekorniuley moytu!” With the addition of this huge dam once the flat is lush with greens, I am sure the singers will have a new additional songs to highlight the many fruits and vegetables!
The future for this area is bright! People’s lives will be transformed for the better now that they will be able to produce year round.
The Tigrai government has been criticized a lot for some of the problems cities around Tigrai are facing but its development work in the countryside is much to be appreciated. Given the magnitude of the problems facing our people in cities and rural areas much is to be done yet! But, the basic foundation for a better future is laid.
[Isayas A, Jan 2017]