Monday, 30 June 2014

Into The Wilds Of Ethiopia

Rhinos roaming the cities. Elephants everywhere. Ethiopia has all the safari highlights, right? Not quite. There's a fair number of exotic birds and larger animals about, but the country isn't known for a plethora or unique species. But the illusion can be found.

Leopards exist, though hard to, um, spot. Unless you're in a National Park office. And ready to make some deals!

Who is this gremlin? Turns out there are plenty of these gremlins roaming about, concentrated in the Simien Mountain National Park. Looks like a baboon, classified as a monkey. Likes to travel in packs that top 1,000.

Tired donkey, trying to hide in the shade along a wall.

Addis museum lion. Airport wooden rhino.

Another leopard sighting, as an introduction at a museum in Axum.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Christian Lessons In Ethiopia

One interesting room at the Ethnological museum in Addis is full of old religious paintings. Instead of a big painting of Jesus or Mary or some bucolic scene, most of the works are long, multi-scene narratives of religious lessons. James was told the paintings would be used for teaching the populace about Christianity and that pictures were used in order to get the message through to a largely illiterate society.

One message is loud and clear: Don't believe and you will pay the price. And precious little is left to the imagination about what wrath awaits you.

One consequence for not believing? You might get sawed in half.

Other options? Plenty. How about being stuck in a barrel or having your head sliced off? Maybe boiled in a pot?

An angel may look down upon a beheading, making sure the head lands in a basket OK.

More chopping. Why stop at the head? It gets grizzlier, someone strapped to a spiked wheel. Ouch.

How about a pot strapped to your head?

Spike through the center of your body, through the groin first. Does it really matter? Grilled to death.

Double scene: stoning and tongue being cut out. I believe now!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Six Fiat Trucks In Ethiopia

With primary colors for their cabs, these Fiat trucks look like Lifesavers come to life.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Hanging Out In Ethiopia

Outside the capital of Addis Ababa, you don't find many private cars. Tuk tuks, buses, carts, the usual developing world transportation options. And then there are your feet. There's no shortage of people out and about in Ethiopia.

School kid.

Two road construction laborers. Young man.

Group of kids.

Resort guards at sunrise. Kid in front yard.

Man with sheep.

Friday, 20 June 2014

The Word In Ethiopia: Plastics

Like most of the developing world, many traditional household tools have been superseded by the key word from the movie The Graduate: Plastics. Cheap, ubiquitous and longer-lasting, plastic what-evers now dominate domestic life.

Exhibit A.

Water needs to be hauled everyday and the yellow plastic carriers are the current choice. In small groups or big, the containers are constantly being moved around.

Be careful where you drink. The same containers are also used for selling kerosene.

Cafe stop for a drink, from plastic. Yellow containers for hauling water, multi-colored plastic options for serving, washing and food prep.

A pause on the daily commute.


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Ploughshare Women's Crafts Training Center, Ethiopia

There's a great training program for single and HIV-positive women outside Gondar, Ethiopia that gives women a chance to learn skills, make a living and lead an independent, proud life. Many women, who are not in a traditional family situation, get turned out by their community and have few options. The Ploughshare Center gives those women an opportunity.

Here we are.

The humble complex.

There are two main crafts practiced: pottery and textiles. And practiced well!

Goods, ready for finishing.

The women also raise a lot of their own food. A storage room, filled with hanging garlic, mmm.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Ethiopian Signs

Pay attention! Follow directions! Heed the information!

Be honest for everything!

Homemade clothing store signs and professional beer mural.
Signs of modern life: coffee and the Internet.

Chicken graffiti on a village hut door. Ping pong and a beast of burden.

Rules to follow.

Friday, 13 June 2014

The Colorful Shop Stalls Of Ethiopia

Forget Wal-Mart, or even a mini-mart, when looking for everyday stuff to buy throughout Ethiopia. In small towns and rural areas, the lone shopkeeper reigns. What's in store? Take a peek.

Shy shopkeeper.

Shop fit for cats. Mattress seller.

Inside a house that sells homemade liquor.

Two more shops.

The material men.