Catch up pictures from Ethiopia, a country worth visiting

Africa was a nightmare to upload photos from. so sorry for the delay Kenya will be next. This is the second time in 2 years I have been to Ethiopia. It’s a great country with spectacular scenery and a great history where apart from a brief period during the 2nd world war when Italy invaded they have never been colonised. Whilst poverty is still in evidence almost everywhere, it has the highest growth rate (GDP) in Africa at present.

This was my camp spot for the night in Metema on the Sudan side of the border with Ethiopia. Its a Police compound and you can see my mosquito tent on the concrete loading deck.

This picture above shows how I had to refill petrol travelling alone. For security reasons I refuelled from the jerry cans (Two 35 litre cans first filled in Eygypt that I had to carry in the back of the car. I never felt comfortable with this as the car always stank of fuel and I was always concerned someone with a cigarette could accidentally ignite us all). I always refuelled in an isolated area as fuel is hard to get and its best not to advertise you have extra!!

Metema a transit town with little in it other than trucks
This petrol tanker with trailer turned over. You can see it blocked the road but traffic was able to drive onto the grass to get around it. What you cannot see are the people lined up with jerry cans draining the fuel out on the other side of the tanker !!

The road terrain in Ethiopia is rough at best. I estimate I drove 200 kms on dirt and stone roads. Often you would be down to 5-10kmh because of the pot holes. Google Maps coverage is very poor in Ethiopia so I relied always on Maps ME which apart from the heat problem rechanging the phone was very reliable almost everywhere.

Driving in Ethiopia is an experience you will never forget because there are people and animals everywhere and many have no road sense at all so, you need to be very careful. Then there is the road surface itself and abandoned vehicles, old road accidents and huge pot holes, road subsidence and land slips. It all adds up to a challenging drive. I didn’t use my music at all in Africa as I felt I needed all the senses I had to avoid catastrophe.

Anybody who knows me knows I drink very little alcohol, but after Sudan and with the heat a cold beer was very welcome at the end of every long day
Its really common to see men and women carrying massive balls of grass on their heads like this. Going from the field s to store them at their homes where animals are kept in pens at night

The above pictures show some street scenes. In Ethiopia there are always people walking at the road side, cars are rare outside the capital, its mainly lorries and pick up trucks. Its got a huge population of 102 million people. The large picture shows a petrol tanker and trailer that have overturned blocking the road completely. You can see the vehicle track on the grass where we passed the crash. What you cant see is a big line of people with jerry cans on the other side all draining the petrol from the tanker and its trailer!!

The country is 64% Christian and 35 % Muslim. The Christian Ethiopian Orthodox church is very visible with lots of people often going to or coming from church. They are always dressed in white and in big groups.
This was a horse race in a village called Banja. All the horses were decorated in similar dressings and I assume it was an important day for the village. It was on the main road that I was driving on and about 30 horses were galloping along ignoring all the traffic!! This guy was winning.

The pictures above show some of the recipients of pens pencil and colouring books as well as footballs that Julia Albu wanted distributed on route.
I stopped for a pee at the side of the road once where it looked quiet but as usual in Ethiopia, four young lads appeared from nowhere to just stand and stare. This happens a lot no matter what you are doing. They look at you and you look at them and then some sort of communication begins. I had pens etc to give them but you need to be very careful how you distribute things especially on your own as they get excited very quickly and can begin pulling all sorts of things out your car. I always had all the doors locked and the items on the passenger seat covered over and ready to hand out of the drivers window and that seemed to work well.

On one of my stops above I was interested to find in the middle of no where what looked like a Muslim and Christian burial site right next to each other. Another sign of how different things are in some places

The above pictures show a market scene in North Gondor the large picture shows a river being used to wash vans an tuk tuks, whilst on the other side of the road they were doing laundry. The guy with his hand out in a tuk tuk has at least 4 goats inside and was trying to stop others following.

Village life in Ethiopia
Gathering wood takes a lot of time
Wood is a stacked up along the road side ready for transporting often by hand and just walking to their homes.
I didn’t see too much crop burning in Ethiopia but it does go on.

In the highlands Gelada baboons were a road hazard too!

Sunset in Africa is nearly always pretty special

Moyale, a border town between border with Etthiopia and Kenya is an interesting town. In March 2018, the Ethiopian army using “bad intelligence” came into the town and 9 community leaders were shot dead in the street. 50,000 local people then fled over the border to Kenya where they were treated as refugees and housed in tents by the Kenyan government and the Kenyan Red Cross. A new Prime Minister was elected in April 2018 and has brought huge reforms in, including making peace with Eritrea within 4 months after 20 years of war. Many people have returned back to Moyale as they feel safe
While I was there, a big demonstration was taking place about equal rights for tribes in the region. It was all peaceful and could have never taken place before the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali came to power in April 2018
This was only a small section of the crowd. They came back about 5 fold more and jogging along chanting
Small problem, I forgot to put the petrol filler cap back on whilst filling with jerry cans so asked the locals to help out. $10 to the first one who can find a replacement. They ran off in all directions and a few came back and tried but they didn’t fit , but within 15 minutes I had a new filler cap and one of the locals thought he had won the lottery>
My waitress in Moyale who served me the stringiest chicken I have ever eaten in my life but I cant complain. I haven’t had one single issue with food poisoning or upset stomachs on the whole trip, and I have eaten locally as much as possible.

Visited the Ethiopian Red Cross in Addis Ababa and met Abdi who told me some of what they do. They have big plans for a shared office and head quarters in the future

Three photos above show Ethiopian Bank being built by Chinese companies. The Chinese are building bridges, roads and buildings all over Africa.

Ethiopia still has lots of problems one major one for me was finding petrol again. Whilst not as bad as Sudan it wasn’t easily available either. I had a little fuel left on arrival and had tried at least 5 stations on the way into Addis without success. So the next morning I asked my hotel to get me a taxi driver who spoke good English. When he turned up I got him to sit in my passenger seat and asked him to direct me to where there was petrol. It worked a treat he took me to a local station where there was a small queue and then he went to the front of it and filled me up himself as he knew all the staff there.

Lots of signs that life in Addis is getting better and easier for people, and of course they were very friendly too.

One thought on “Catch up pictures from Ethiopia, a country worth visiting

  1. Good day mr ged, i saw your intreview with ahmed rafaat in egypt you were wearing the egyptian national team shirt and the traditional scotch fit,
    . You are so kind and handsome man and most welcome any time in egypt, and there is so many egyptians supports your trip
    Greetings from cairo big bro
    Wish you all the best, and sorry if my english doesn’t seems perfect

    The episodes link: https://youtu.be/PQA4Jzyble0

    Like

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