The mountainside dwellers are suspicious. Bizuneth tells me that upon my departure, she will gather her things and go back to her mother for a while. Why?  “Because now, everyone in the mountains is aware that a stranger was here and they will know that she’ll have left something behind. They will want to come and steal it from me.”

“Help me, Lord to survive this new day” are the first words heard from Bizunesh before she gets up from her straw bed.

Belay is already out ,getting the donkey ready. There is no time to spare when survival is the activity of the day. Belay is going to get the corn milled. Soon, it will be Myriam, mother of Christ, celebrations, a golden opportunity to fill the household coffers by selling homemade beer. There is neither extra food for this family to sell nor subsidized food to compensate for the shortage.

Continue reading > Economy

I am sitting in the kitchen. I have been awake for some time, thanks to the bed bugs which fill my hay mattress on the floor. They do love a stranger and the Ethiopian fleas are atop the world charts for being the most active!

The children know their chores. For Demelash, it is the tilling of the fields before going to school. For Teshome it is to leave for the pasture with the animals. He his now allowed back into the house yard before the first star is seen in the sky. He has been training his younger brother, Mulat to care for them for a year now.  He will soon be 4 years-old,  time for him to contribute and take over as cattle boy. That will be the day Teshome is allowed to go to school. Wenynishet is looking after the baby. 

Continue reading > The young

The chores are enormous and they are all so small. It overwhelms me.

School is essential for Bizuneth. It is the only road to escape the everlasting race against famine. Bizuneth admits that she accepted to host me in order that I might encourage the desire for learning in her children. Now, they will know that another reality exists.

Wishing to return and to know

Will have they been able to get some education? Has Bizuneth accepted to let Wenynishet go on the mountain paths.  So many little girls are raped or robbed on their way to school. In the capital, there is even an hospital treating the fistulas due to young girls’ maternity. I am outraged. Have things evolved regarding girls in Ethiopia? One day, the couple asked me about contraception, they did not want any more children. Have I succeeded in helping them with my explanations?

Cooking, along with basketry are indicators of a long established culture in the Ethiopian mountainsides. Bizuneth adds an egg to the pancake she is offering her husband despite the fact that the orthodox religion ofEthiopia requires its followers to fast 165 days a year! Can that be possible? What do the now grown-up children think about this religious requirement?

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The young
A day

It’s an adventure, it’s awakening, it’s human