Ethiopia - the ‘farandji’ curse


After a few days of tough walking and only one lift with a car full of Polish tourists who gave me as a gift a 4 gigabit card for the camera, because they found my journey really cool So, I escaped the outermost and the most traffic free area in Ethiopia at last. While I was walking, I was stunned by the most incredible and take breathing landscapes ever, which most people couldn’t even imagine. Unfortunately, my solitude was interrupted by many irritating freaks – following me with the only purpose to steal anything they could; a lot of children who were trying to unzip my rucksack and to attack me from behind. I also had the chance to meet the so called ‘scout’ (the disgusting armed guards of the region), who I had to punch and the other scouts hardly succeeded to push us away from each other. There were hundreds of rude, nasty, mean, pathetic, light-fingered little people. Well, we should not forget the children who had almost got me killed with stones several times. They are the real threat because if you encounter grown up people and you react aggressively - it’s ok, but if there are 20 savage children with stones in their hands – nobody stands a chance. These were my first days in this country where the population is a monstrous problem. Ethiopians are nearly 90 million people and they are poor, mainly because they are too many. The country can’t feed so many people but the population continues to grow. The situation is the following: 9-10 years-olds are already married, so when they become 11 years old they had a child already. And they continue to have children constantly till they got about 15-16 children! Men legally can have 3 or 4 women. Women’s purpose is to do all the hard work and to give birth to children. Men stay the whole day under a good shade and chew chat (this is a kind of drug). In Ethiopia, even the calendar is different – the present moment is January, 2004. New Year comes on the 1st of September. Money is called birr – one dollar is 17.8 birr. Food is pretty cheap, I already ate most of their vegetarian dishes – indjera (it’s like a bread but different), shiro, tagamino. They have a fantastic juice of mango and avocado, as well as other delicious things.
After I was in the Simien Mountains, I arrived at Aksum. I took a look at the local churches – the town is something like a spiritual center. Then I continued to walk along the road ( it was made of asphalt already, because the other one was only gravel for almost 300km) and I had to survive another attack of stones threw by ferocious kids. Fortunately, I was saved by lorry driver, who turned out to be a wonderful person. I traveled with him till we arrived in Korem. One night, I slept in the tent next to the lorry and we arrived on the second day. In Korem, I met Merry– an American lady who volunteered in the Peace Corps. She made my two following days wonderful. She introduced me to some really nice Ethiopians and as if I forgot about the bad experiences. Merry cooked some really tasty meals and we all went to an amazing waterfall – in general, we just wandered around all the time) Shortly, I just had a rest for the first time since I arrived in this country. It’s shocking what Ethiopia turned me in – a beast, which attacks before being even attacked only to avoid a possible assault; a real steel woman who could walk 20 km for days with her rucksack on her back without feeling any pain, thirst or hunger. 
I feel like nothing can disturb or stress me, doesn’t matter how hard the moving forward is and no matter how nasty people are. For the first time I feel like there is not even one thing which I could not survive – I would struggle or I will beat it with stamina or strength. I am motivating myself to keep going and to be stronger than distance, difficult hitchhiking, mean and brutal people.
The steel woman was born and she headed towards her own way in real, wild Africa. I was with totally ragged clothes, sandals torn apart and a dirty rucksack, so I can say that my two months journey was totally apparent To be a farandji  among unfriendly black people is not easy but it’s not completely impossible either, especially if you start to pay attention to the small percent of good people who also exist. The problem here is that local people have a completely misunderstood concept for the farandji (foreigner) and the whole communication is reduced to how they can make money out of the farandji. But Ethiopia is an interesting country with more than 80 spoken languages and cultures, numerous tribes, etc. People live in such a way they used to live many years ago, houses look like barracks with roof made of straw or clay and finished with cattle compost. Different culture traditions various depending on the region - music is fantastic, women braid their hair in a very interesting way and in the southern part of the country, there is a tribe where people have their lower lip misshapen as a bowl An incredible country with astonishing beauty which is almost impossible to describe with words and the variety of birds specimen is shocking…. Except the birds, I saw monkeys and foxes, as well, and at 3000 meters people raise even camels
Nature, on this altitude, is different from the Bulgarian one, because here everything is green and full of life. Nights are cool, though. After Korem, I succeeded to catch a lorry to Yelda and then, a car full of people going to Bahir Dar. I am in Bahir Dar now and I am going to visit the Blue Nile Waterfalls which are located 35km from here. Maybe, I will sleep over there and tomorrow I am heading Addis Ababa to issue myself a visa for Djibouti and Somalia. I am really excited and can’t way to get over this as well.


Translated by: Ivelina F

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