Tag Archives: Ethiopia

The Day Rock Climbing Changed an Ethiopian Village Forever

I spent the better part of three years traveling around the country, roping up with phenomenal climbers and searching for the least visited mountain ranges and unclimbed towers. However, I didn’t realize that in my own backyard—right outside of the capital Addis Ababa—I would find and establish Ethiopia’s first complete sport climbing crag.

The Ups and Downs of the Emotional Support Dog

Dogs sense change. I get anxious when I see the crate move from the hallway to the patio, back to the hallway and then to the living room. I have bouts of shaking when the humans start acting like a surprise party is being planned, but nobody is willing to talk about it. We sense […]

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.