What better way to show praise in academic achievement than to provide a first-hand view of future opportunity at top-notch facilities! This past February our students from BCI Academy in grades 1 through 4 with a first semester grade of at least a “B” were rewarded with an educational field trip to explore the industries of aviation and farming, touring the Dejen Aviation Engineering Complex (DAVEC) and Genesis Farms.
According to the Academy’s principal, Mulugeta Gezaw, the purpose of this tour was to show appreciation for the students’ accomplishments and to inspire them toward a future with a love of science.
The field trip began with a tour of DAVEC, a center for military aircraft upgrades and maintenance over-hauls. DAVEC provides depot-level maintenance to the fleet of the Ethiopian Air Force, which operates under the ministry of the Ethiopian National Defense. Traveling outside the populated city of… they arrived at DEVAC to find high security, encountering two check points before proceeding. Phones and cameras were not allowed inside the compound.
In the first part of the tour the students explored the maintenance and upgrade facility for jets such as the MiG-21 and Mig-23 fighters and L-39 jet trainer. They got a chance to see what these jets looked like up close, how they are maintained, and the differences between them. Outside, they saw an Antonov 12 that was being upgraded by a team of experts from Russia and Ethiopia. Next they visited a nearby facility that performs upgrades and maintenance on transport and attack helicopters like the Mi-8, Mi-17, Mi-24 and Mi-35. In the final part of the tour they visited the facility where tools and spare parts for the aircrafts are made by both computerized and manual systems. The students were very excited and asked a lot of questions during the tour, and the guide and mechanics did very well at trying to answer them. The tour was a great learning experience in the field of military aviation!
After the DAVEC tour the students ventured on to Genesis Farms, a large compound that began in November 1996 for the purpose of demonstrating large scale, integrated agricultural production. It includes greenhouses, poultry parent stock barns, ebb and flood irrigation beds, a feed mill, hatchery, farm store, training center and devotional hall. The farming compound employs more than 550 workers and grows over 20 varieties of vegetables and harvests 150,000 pounds of product weekly! They also have an internship program which provides hands-on training to men and women from all over Africa.
Upon arriving to the farm the students took a break for lunch then played some familiar games and ran in the garden. After the much needed rest, the farm tour began with explanations of each area. The dairy barn is fully occupied with 120 cows providing milk for the processing plant. The farm’s butter, cheese and yogurt are market leaders in quality and taste. The hatchery produces 4,500 chicks per week, and the egg production averages 12,000 per day.
As the day came to an end, everyone was thanked for their hospitality and the students returned to the bus and headed back to the school. They were all very tired and exhausted from the intense heat of the day and from standing for hours, but it was well worth it. Our children learned what their future could be if they continue headed in an educational path toward industries such as these. Some of them might become pilots and some could be flight technicians. Others might become mechanical or electrical engineers, or even solders that live and die for their country. They could also choose to be well-educated farmers, skilled in providing the food for their nation.
Our job at BCI Academy is to shape the students’ future by inspiring, educating and guiding them as best as possible so that they can write their story and meet with their own destiny of greatness. We believe these kids are the hope and future of our country which we all long to see. We will do everything in our power to make that a reality!