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Archive | Ethiopia

Dodging and not Climbing Rocks in Ethiopia

At the top of the 20m routes were the remnants of the group’s bolts, obliterated into a flat strips of metal pegged to the rock. Each one reminded me of the penny smashing machine, and I half hoped to find shapes of Ethiopia’s national monuments etched into the steel. Most likely the children of the village smashed the anchors with rocks. Owning a piece of metal in a landscape so overwhelmed with rock was seductive to a mischievous ten year old. Some hangers were completely missing, others intact hidden from the children’s view.

Meskel in a Dorze Slaughterhouse

I stepped through puddles of blood and gastric juices. Hundreds of bulls and heifers dotted the landscape. The sap of life leaked from their orifices and some still twitched with hopelessness. I watched these humans wrestle a heifer to the ground, battling with her until achieving total submission.

Look Homeward, Bayele

The main road was alive with farmers and horse carts. He saw mosques and churches facing each other from opposite sides of the road. And when the bus passed through a village, the radio crackled for an instant and the voice of a great Ethiopian singer crooned with recklessness. He wondered if he would ever find his way back home.

Life in the Hamster Tube: Tigray’s Off Width Towers

The Koraro towers rise and fall like pistons of a car engine and pose like a lineup of disfigured criminals. It’s hot, we see few climbable cracks, a series of bolts aiding halfway up the middle tower and He-Man chooses a chimney on the east face of the largest tower. Nobody knows where the chimney will lead, but a deep layer of bird shit tells us that if you are squeezed out of a vulture’s ass, you will probably hit the ground.

The Rock Orphans of Mekele

After another 8 feet, I reached the next chamber where Samy was wedged between the walls, smiling. I could no longer see the entrance to the cave and looking above resembled a narrow mouth of crooked teeth leading to an ever tighter esophagus, suffocating and desperate. I put my head into high gear, arm wrestling thoughts of claustrophobia. Thoughts are the catalyst for disasters in these types of situations, and steady breathing and silence are like medicine.

The Goat Boy and the Hyena Man

Once upon a time in the city of Harar, a goat gave birth to a man. The news of the half-goat-half-man traveled quickly through the tangled alleys of the old city center, the Jugal. These walls were erected by a Harari sultan to protect the city from invaders, and now the news of the birth of this crossbred wonder was trapped inside, like a ball in a pinball machine.