Gedam Jambaria is located 42 KM north East of Debre Berhan, about a 3-hour drive on asphalt and gravel road and an additional 20-minute walk. The Gedam’s residents currently include 38 men, 26 women, and 7 children. The whole compound consists of (approximately) 8 structures, a garden and a field. There is a water storage container that is being expanded and water faucets with decent water pressure. The structures include the religious hall, bedrooms, kitchen, storage rooms, the previous grinding space, toilet and cattle shelter. The garden consists of Banana and Enset (‘False Banna Tree’) trees, a few young apple seedlings, ornamental seedlings of Pelargonium and a small lawn for relaxation.
Currently, the Gedam produces and distributes small amounts of Tala (traditional local beer brewed from various grains) which is generated in the grinding room in an area close to the Gedam (see below) and grows grains and vegetables in fields down the hill.
The Gedam is headed by Aba Kidane Mariam Haile Selassie, also called ` Aba Minas`. A man with a good understanding for technical and construction tasks, who is also gifted with initiation and leadership abilities. Aba Minas has been involved in development work in other gedams along the years, including the installation of several water systems.
A package of technologies were presented to Abba Minas from which he selected a pepper grinding mill
in order to promote additional income for the Gedam and the surrounding community. A pepper will was installed in July 2020, following the building of a proper operational housing unit and acquiring equipment in Addis. The pepper mill is functioning, enabling processing and additional income to the Gedam
During a visit to the gedam, CultivAid’s team noticed one of the main buildings where food is housed and handcraft work was being dismantled is about to collapse. At the end of the tour, when we asked Aba Minas about the needs of the Gedam, the first and foremost need he presented was for a renovation of the building. He also gave us a list of materials and costs.
Together with Aba Minas, our team purchased the materials in Debra Berhan market. The equipment was than shipped to the Gedam. The following days has been dedicated to the demolish of the old structure. Many of the ruins was reused as construction materials for the new built. To cover the full amount of expenses, the son of Aba Minas, donated an additional amount of around 80,000 ETB .
The first step of the construction was excavation work for five days. Then the wood pillars foundation was placed in ditches and on top of them, horizontal beams, together, creating the wood foundation. For the next four weeks, the walls and roof were built. The next step was to construct stones as the foundation for the floor and then the cement floor was casted. Last, refurbished doors were installed.
The constructed warehouse is comparatively big, strong and resistible and built with sufficient materials. Its estimated size is 7X15 meters, 3.5-5 meters tall, divided into two rooms. Walls on the excavation side are made of rocks and mud and covered with cement. Outer walls and the roof are constructed of a frame of conifer and eucalyptus beams, together with metal panels.
The north-west part of the structure is used for Tala production instead of the previous use as a craft area. Half of the floor is a concrete casting where the Grains and leaves are stored and dried. The other half is where the grinding of Tala takes part- It has a soft mud floor and a team of two blind members of the Gedam grind the grains in a local grinding container. The south-east part is a storage room is for food ingredients (mainly grain seeds and powders for the rainy season).
The process was very successful. It involved the collaboration between the Beta Israel community around the Gedam and the community of Kebbele 05. Hence, strengthen the connection between the Gedam to other communities and neighboring villages. The result is an impressive, comparatively resilient warehouse of which the Gedam residents and the community feel proud.
Aba Minas expressed his wish to develop apple and lime orchards as well as vegetable gardens. The residents of the Gedam will be happy to be trained with the proper agrotechnical knowledge and there are available lands and water sources.
The previous experience of Aba Minas in such work, and, the comparatively stable condition of Jambaria Gedam- might show a potential for community work to the benefit of other gedams. Particularly- the ability of the Gedam to produce food and the lack of food in other Gedams.
Since the craft production of the Gedam was replaces with Tala production