My final night

22 Jul

As predicted, gaining reliable internet was difficult as I travelled south down the Rift Valley. My first stop was Shashamene, known widely as the town which emporer Haile Selassie gave to the Rasfafarians. Well, he gave them some land there anyway, and it remains today. From the town, I travelled up to Kofele, a compact market town.

Describing the journeys is hard to sum up in a little blog post. Cars don’t rule the roads in this part of the rift valley. Infact nothing really does. Most of them are simply seething with cattle, minibuses, children, horses, donkeys pulling carts, ‘bajaj’ (or tuctucs) , the odd 4×4, cats, dogs, goats feeding from others… Somehow though, everything seems to get where it sets out to go. With a little bit of Ethiopian patience. Beyond the town, we met with farmers and their famillies to ask them about how their mobile phones are helping them to make more money from their farms. They also have profound social impacts which was interesting to see. Of course, we couldn’t avoid questions about the rain and drought, but this part of the country is very high and damp most of the year, so the effects are less severe.

On Wednesday, I took a hot dusty drive north, to the lakeside town of Zewey. Beautiful Zewey, flat fertile ground with a backdrop of deep blue mountians. Most of the farmers I met with here are irrigation farmers who have large plots and water pumps. Others grew seedlings in their yards to sell on to the bigger scale farmers. The hotter climate and flatter geography does mean they are more prone to drought here, and with rains falling at different times, some were fearful for the future. Many simply told us “Only God knows about tomorrow”.

So, back in Addis Ababa for my final night here in Ethiopia. The city has changed lot in a year, since I was here last. Still managed to find my favourite cafe and my old internet haunt.

But home tomorrow. I’ve met some interesting and incredibly warm, helpful people and have a heap of material to trawl through on my return. Fingers crossed I’ve not forgotten anything!

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