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Herein, Thompson was able to integrate his philosophy of having government agencies work together with non-governmental agencies to achieve a common goal.
This was his belief based on the growing understanding that in many situations the private sector can do things cheaper and more efficiently than a bureaucratic government.
On one trip to Alberta he purchased twenty eggs of certified Rhode Island Reds and carried them in a basket for more 24 hours in his flight back to Addis Ababa.
They were not to eat the eggs but to use them for breeding.
All twenty eggs hatched and by the end of the year there were over a hundred chickens.
One of his first assignments was to organize the curriculum and supervise the teachers at Ethiopia’s first high school, the newly opened Haile Selassie Secondary School. Emperor Haile Selassie I, himself the Minister of Education, appointed Thompson first as the Superintendent of Schools of Kaffa Province and later as Deputy Minister of Education.
The nation’s public school system needed rebuilding because the occupiers had destroyed educational structures and not allowed many Ethiopian children to go to school.
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.Thompson became an intimate friend of the Emperor, whom he respected, and a confidante and mentor to the royal family, who referred to him as , a term of respect and endearment.One project that greatly pleased the Emperor was Thompson’s proposal to build a leprosarium for the Arise people in the Rift Valley in Shashamane, one of the most under developed areas of Ethiopia.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.As our relationship evolved over the years he became a mentor and grandfather figure to me.