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I also absorbed Thompson’s respectful and sustainable model for developing Ethiopia’s potential, one I would try to apply in my own work for Ethiopia.Thompson, who was born in the United States to Canadian parents and raised in Alberta, had been a teacher and a chiropractor before World War II.Within a few years, there were millions of Rhode Island Red chickens throughout southern Ethiopia.The Emperor was pleased and joined the lepers in nicknaming Thompson, , Father of the Chickens.Between 19, he served as an instructor in the Royal Canadian Air Force.During his service, he became friends with a chaplain who had known Emperor Haile Selassie while he lived in exile in Great Britain during the 1936 Fascist occupation of Ethiopia.
When my father, Germa Amare, and I visited Thompson and his second wife, Evelyn, in 1996, we learned about the egg project.
Thompson’s mandate was to establish schools in the capital city of each of the twelve provinces and in all of the main provincial towns.
Thompson flew to Britain, India, Canada, and the United States, recruiting teachers for Ethiopia. Within five years, the Ethiopian school population grew from zero to almost ten thousand.
Like many others in the Ethiopian Diaspora at the time, I found it difficult to identify confidently with the Ethiopian culture because our family had fled a country in turmoil after a Marxist coup in 1974.
From Thompson, I gained a deeper appreciation of my homeland’s contribution to language, literature, faith, and culture.