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.