As I write this blog, Ethiopia is engaged in a civil war. By now the world will have heard of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Tigray, Mekelle, Sudan, Asmara and other names in the news. No matter how closely you follow the conflict from afar, you cannot be sure of the facts as they vary from report to report. However, it is without a doubt another tragedy to add to the country’s long history of death on a large scale and displaced persons in large numbers, caught in the crossfire. I am sharing with you some of the happy images of the country I visited. Admittedly, I never really saw the dark side, apart from the stark poverty and the many thousands of people whose lives could be enriched with just a fraction of the money that is poured into the war machine.
We liked to sit outside our apartment in the tukul, a small thatched enclosure. The tortoises were a constant source of amusement as they lumbered around the campus. Word had it that one school principal became so frustrated with their depredations in his vegetable garden that he picked one up and threw it over the wall. One of the guards returned the tortoise and nothing more was said.
Queenslanders know their bananas! While these hands may look overripe, they were rarely soft and brown inside. They were the most delicious bananas I, the connoisseur, have tasted anywhere. Fresh fruit and vegetables were readily available, although as a health precaution they had to be washed carefully in a bleach solution and thoroughly rinsed.
Young people are the same the world over, keen to be active, competent in sport, mentored by older people. Our son has always been a mad keen skateboarder. In the picture below he shows the local lads how it’s done. They were fast learners!
Happy Christmas to everyone. My next blog will introduce you to the subject of my book, Feyisa Lilesa. He comes from a beautiful part of the world: Jeldu in Oromia, Ethiopia: