Monday, December 17, 2012

ETHIOPIA.

first of all, WHOA has the internet been broken. i've already been here almost 4 days & the internet at our hotel JUST started working this morning. so, sorry i haven't been able to share with you more about ethiopia! i will. but for now let me just say...AFRICA. IS. CRAZY. crazy in a fantastic, eye-opening, life-changing way. crazy in a terrifying, this-is-actually-kind-of-scary way. crazy in an exciting, still-can-hardly-believe-we're-here way. & more!

if you think about it, africa is one of the places of the world that is the most opposite from the united states in almost every respect. so to come here, to a world so different from the comfortable, admittedly selfish, & even lazy one i know is heartbreaking, humbling, & fascinating. mules & donkeys are the common form of transportation. most children run around in bare feet, kicking a tattered, almost unrecognizable ball through the dust of a yellow-brown field. small boys thresh piles of wheat on the side of the road, the pitchfork they use bigger than their own bodies. the further we drive out from the city, the more houses we see made out of three sticks and a single tarp for a roof. driving out in the countryside, to the heavy farmland areas, most of the people we see sit by themselves in the shade of a single tree, seeking a few minutes of rest from the blisteringly hot sun, the pack they were carrying a few feet away. they sit in the shade and they just stare off into the distance, or they stare right back at me looking at them through the window of the car, their eyes piercing and almost angry with pensiveness. "sister," the women with scared, lonely eyes call to me as they hold their hands out, asking for money. "sister, please." 

& then there's me, documenting what i can with some flashy-flash camera, knowing i have a hot shower & a clean hotel room with white sheets to return to at the end of the day, & after that, an apartment back in flashy-flash new york city to go home to. on one of the plane rides here i was flipping through magazines featuring clothes worth hundreds, even thousands, of dollars, magazines that described where the movie star on the cover bought her skinny jeans and how she snacked on "egg whites & whole-wheat toast" during the cover shoot. i was making a shopping list of exciting new clothes i was hoping to buy in the new year & even getting a head start on a gift list for ben's birthday in february. in a lot of ways i almost feel ashamed. no, check that - i feel very ashamed.

jet lag and the obscene time difference are still playing their jedi mind tricks on me, but it's getting better. packs of wild dogs roam the streets barking & howling until well after midnight, but so far i've been too tired to be kept awake by them. & then we're woken up around six by the call to prayer. a mosque nearby broadcasts a chanting prayer on loudspeakers every few hours - five times a day, to be exact - and the sound carries incredibly well into our little hotel room. 

i don't think i'll ever forget what it feels like to be woken up by the haunting sound of the call to prayer. 

it's very beautiful, of course, the call to prayer, but eerie, too. what i mean is, the sound breaks through the silence & still of the night (the wild dogs have all gone to sleep by this point, i assume) & i wake up all disoriented & terrified until i remember where i am & what the sound is (it sounds a lot like this). all there is left to do after that is cuddle closer to ben, thanking gosh that i have someone to experience all this with, because i know i couldn't be doing this alone.

the view from our hotel room:


& this lady on the side of the road, as seen from our bus:

1 comment:

  1. I hope you have witnessed problem of majority of countries. This is the way they live, we better feel ourselves 'God's favourite child' not to face such nuances of life. I feel lucky. and thankx for heart awakening post.

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