I've been spending the past 2 days in Addis mainly wrting up my recommendation on honey marketing, eating injera and tearing my hair out because of internet bugs / power cuts - not very good or new blogging material or photos.
However today we drove 45 minutes outside Addis to visit a project the innocent foundation funded from 2007 to 2009, appropriately called the Apple Project.
To cut a long story short, we supported the introduction of apple trees in Ethiopia to help smallholder farmers diversify their income by growing and selling apples: a rare, and therefore high value crop here.
Here is Gonfar, the farmer we visited, proudly standing by his apple trees (it was quite surreal seeing an apple orchard just behind banana plants.) He's got about 85 of them now.
3 years ago, this was where he and his 9 chldren lived, a cute but quite rustic little mud hat.
Thanks to the money he's made from selling his apples, and I'm not joking here, he's built himself a brand new colourful house just next to the old one.
By this point, I was completely in awe of this entrepreneur but things didn't stop there.
He's also constructed a new latrine, which happens to be one of the cleanest ones I've seen here.
When I went in, I realised the old exercise books (bottom right) weren't meant for passing time on the loo: he'd even thought of toilet paper.
He's also set up an ingenious mechanism to irrigate the land whilst washing your hands so no water gets wasted.
This man had by now become my hero, and then I realised he was officially a hero, as you can see from the medal in the bottom picture frame.
The dashing young man with the sexy sunglasses eyeing up Barbie is his eldest son who works at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis. Not really my kind of place but I might go in and say hello if I walk past on my daily evening wanders through the city.
Not only was I in awe of this man (and made everyone laugh by constantly repeating 'this is A-MA-ZING' during the visit) but on a more serious note, I felt really proud of being a member of the innocent oundation. There are 225 other Gonfars in the region who have all directly benefited from our grant and are selling more and more apples each year. I felt nearly as proud as Gonfar in the photo. Just missing the medal.
Now, back to the honey.