22 Aug 2011

Milk Problems

Milk is a luxury in Ethiopia.  The great majority of children, not to mention adults, drink tea instead of milk.  The reason is purely economic; it has nothing to do with any type of intolerance to milk.  In our school Abugida (215 children including 73 babies on double rations), in Fitawrari school (310 children) and in Biru Tesfa (190 children), these last two where Mediterranea provide school feeding programmes, everyone drinks milk.

This represents 40 litres for the babies of Abugida and 40 litres for the rest, 70 litres for Fita and 50 in Biru, totalling 200 litres a day and 4000 litres per month.  This is a great business for the milkmen of the area.  Milkmen who have been increasing their prices at their convenience, because in Ethiopia they increase the price for buying a lot.  Price ceilings do not exist in Ethiopia.  To them it is natural to increase the price because you are a good business and of course they have to milk the cow well, which in this case is us…

The milkman who was supplying us invented a ‘mugging’ and disappeared with two weeks of milk money.  Since then we have been looking for a new milkman.  No one wants to supply us.  One came up with crazy excuses like he supplies the prison Monday to Sunday and with us it is only Mon to Friday.  What, the prisoners of Akaki drink milk?  Who in their right mind would believe this?  What he wanted was to charge us for milk on Saturdays and Sundays although the schools are closed.  The fact that the milk is for the poorest children in the area doesn’t bother them in the slightest.

The fact is that in one of the poorest countries on the planet, where milk is a luxury, they don’t want to sell it to us.  Can anyone understand this?  We can’t.

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