Monday, June 01, 2009

Ethiopia in photos

I love airports - my tendency to ask strangers about their lives and their recent purchases validated by a boarding pass.  Leaving Ethiopia, a man returning from the Congo to Belgium asked what I had seen of Ethiopia.  When I explained we had stayed in Addis Ababa with a brief trip to Debre Birhan, he told me I missed seeing the best of Ethiopia, the Blue Nile.  Scott, an American in Amsterdam, had just returned from safari in Kenya and couldn't believe I'd stayed in the city the whole time.  

As we drove the four hours from Addis to Debre Birhan through farming villages, we passed kids shepherding sheep and donkeys, women sitting outside a small dairy surrounded by old-fashioned milk jugs, horse-drawn carts and sweeping African vistas dotted with trees, livestock and thatched huts.  It was a beautiful break from the slums of the city where my senses were overwhelmed with the mingling smells of humanity in a place built too quickly with no planning: coffee roasting and brewing mixed with both human and animal sweat and excrement.  Little sticky hands reached out for money I couldn't give them, but more gently to touch hands and say "selam," (peace) the daily greeting.  In both the city and the countryside I saw smiles, hope and desperation.  I met girl prostitutes who were trying to feed themselves and often a baby, who were happy to speak to the ferengis (white foreigners) because they had not one person who cared to ask what life is like for them.

I may not have seen all that Ethiopia has to offer, but I did see more beauty in humanity than I could handle.  

I hope you enjoy the photos -- I'll be posting more detailed stories in days to come.  


Dionne Sincire said...

mercado, mercado, mercado... great photos. brings back lots of memories.

Rebecca Snavely said...


When were you in Ethiopia? What were you doing?

Anonymous said...

Your photos and journal touch me.
Thank you for sharing.