The adventure has truly begun; today we travelled for 11 hours by 4×4 from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch, the gateway town to Southern Ethiopia. Normally an eleven-hour car journey would not be high on my list of things to do but there was so much to experience, it felt like a 2-3 hour journey.
Leaving Addis, I was surprised by how good the roads were and I expected them to deteriorate quickly but to my surprise the road was excellent for most of the 500Km journey. The more amazing thing is there wasn’t a gap of more than 5 mins in our total journey where we didn’t have people walking beside the road. This is a culture where you have to walk, whether that is to drive your cattle to the river and back, or whether you are taking your produce to market. People walk miles and don’t think twice about it, but I guess it isn’t by choice; you just have to do it.
In the second half of our journey the other car had a puncture and that gave us time to spend with some local kids. They were very aware of the big soccer (football) names and teams. The first boy I saw was wearing a Rooney jersey, tattered and hanging off him but certainly very important to him. One of the other boys looked to have made a small football out of old rags and they were very adapt at ball juggling. They simply made do with whatever they had. This gave me an opportunity to hand out one of the footballs I brought from the UK. The look on the boy’s face was priceless, probably the best $5 I have ever spent!
I am writing this on the veranda of Paradise Lodge in Arba Minch watching the sun come up over Lake Abaya and Lake Chomo. The sun is silhouetting the mountains, truly beautiful. I didn’t know what to expect in Ethiopia and so far my best ideals have been exceeded in just a couple of days. Today we leave for the tribal region and I can’t begin to imagine what we’ll experience.
I have a few tears in my eyes, it is so beautiful and so reminiscent of our time in South Africa. I’ll never forget the look on the faces of the village boys when we gave them the two Nike soccer balls donated by The Far Post. They were used to playing with a stocking stuffed with rags. As for walking by the road side, yes it is constant in much of the world and doesn’t our private, enclosed way of living make sometimes make things feel isolated and deserted?
These photos are beautiful, Andy. You have a gift at capturing the heart of a moment.
Phil, I agree with you, in comparison I observe we live isolated lives. The sense of community in these places is so strong!
Funny enough, my favorite picture is the one with you in it. The melding of two worlds.
And I thought you were saying that because I’m such a good looking guy!
I do agree though, it was precious to connect our worlds, those kids were so excited!
Andy- these are wonderful!! I can’t wait to see what is to come. I am very impressed already!!