Friday, 27 July 2012

Ordinary People

By ordinary I don’t mean insignificant.  On the contrary, I mean the very people that make up the very fabric of the land.  As we drove through villages we marvelled at the astonishing landscape that was so earthy, verdant and staggering in its immensity at the same time as being so foreign and not of this time.   

Houses made of branches and mud which are painted bright colours, rows of little shops, more like kiosks, made of metal and painted again in bright colours that held a few items, its owners sitting outside, chatting with fellow shop owners.  These little retail outfits may have been small but space was utilised for maximum sales.  Rows of meat on hooks, sneaky pole extensions  fixed to the roof with goods strung on them.  Extra tables in front.  Fridge-freezers, electric lights.  Table football games, which are covered with tarpaulin when it rains. 

Lots of quick glimpses as we rush by and the camera can never quite capture the smell and feel of it all.  Coffee beans being roasted and cooking fires burning. 

Mud House
The Ethiopians have long legs.  They walk miles and miles.  We see them on the side of the roads.  They are walking and walking, great long regular strides, fast and upright, without hesitation.  

Some have shoes; flip flops, plastic sandals, or some leather wrapping around their feet.  Occasionally, we spot trainers, but mostly they are barefoot.  It’s like they are riding a bicycle, they stride so quickly and so far ahead.  All of them are carrying something.  The women balance bundles on their head and children on their backs. The men carry sticks, sometimes Dick Whittington style over their shoulder with bags tied to each end. Other times they use it for walking with a bundle of wood or a bag of flour over their shoulders. 

Other direct heavily laden donkeys and follow in their wake. Still others are on bikes or carts drawn by small raggedy horses. 

We seem to drive a long way before we see the next village and wonder at how many miles they must walk to and from market each day.

Walking back to the village 
Walking back to the village 
Walking back to the village 
Walking back to the village 
Walking back to the village 
Walking back to the village 
Farm work
Looking after the cattle
Basket making
Overturned lorry

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