Journey to Ethiopia inspires charity duo

TWO women who have just returned from Ethiopia are urging people to support a development charity that is helping the country’s Oromo herdspeople.

Jenny Houghton, of Colwall, and Mary Stafford, of Welland, near Upton-on-Severn, made the visit as part of their work for the Send A Cow charity.

Send A Cow is working with the Oromo people to diversify their economy by growing vegetables using compost and animal dung, which improves soil fertility.

Mrs Stafford, a retired development economist, said: “This vegetable growing enables the locals to close the hunger gap that is the result of the dry season.

“It gives them self-sufficiency and a surplus of produce to sell throughout the year.”

The two women joined a party of representatives from Send A Cow and other development charities to make the difficult journey to the Ethiopian highlands, where the Oromo live.

Mrs Stafford said: “You have to use Toyota Land Cruisers and even then the roads are almost impassable.”

When they reached the Omoro territory, they were greeted by tribesmen on horseback wearing ceremonial garb in their honour.

“After a ride across a high plateau, we spent the night in a bunkhouse in their mountain village, where we were served lamb cooked on a huge steel pan over an open fire,” said Mrs Stafford.

“It was extraordinary to go back in time and share their way of life, out of reach of all modern facilities.”

Mrs Stafford and Mrs Houghton are urging people to help Send A Cow by visiting sendacow.org.uk to donate money or buy gifts.

The Send a Cow catalogue is also available from Holland Opticians, Graham Road, Malvern.

They are also willing to talk to local groups about the charity and their Ethiopian journey. Anyone wanting to book a talk can call Mrs Houghton on 01684 540158 or Mrs Stafford on 07811 064920.

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