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A Day in Ethiopia - October, 2008

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

During my travels to Ethiopia in October, 2008, I was moved to write the following. This is still a relatively new destination for travelers, but for anyone interested in art, history, culture or wildlife, Ethiopia has so much to offer the more adventurous, pioneering traveler. For anyone who is interested in learning more about traveling to this incredible country, please do reach out to me as I work with amazing partners in-country, who are focused on sustainable travel designed to "give-back" to the communities.

On a busy street corner

A mother sleeps covered in a tattered blanket

A young child sits smiling by her head

Playing with the dirt all around

A huge crevasse in the road

Bubbles with stagnant poisonous water

An orange floats in the slimy green liquid

A butcher shop stands opposite

Sides of meat hang

Covered in flies

Minivans all painted blue and white

Filled to overflowing with people

Cars and trucks all converge into narrow openings

Women, children and men

So many supported only by a wooden crutch

As their wasted limbs are useless

Or they have nothing but stumps

Why, why can this happen

We turn up a cobbled stone street

Rusted and torn corrugated iron sheets stand side by side

Behind them shelters made of mud and sticks

Women arranging grasses and peppers on sacks to dry

We weave our way through the narrow street

Narrowly missing women and their young children

Then we stop

Hope lay behind the large iron gates

A local organization doing so much

But in a country where it is still so little

We hear about their excellent work

Their commitment, the volunteers

They reach the ‘lucky’ ones

Beyond that large green door

What about them

They don’t exist without an ID card

So they can’t get help

These are the invisible

The poorest of poor

We drive away encouraged by the good work

But then look around and know

In our hearts it is nothing

The homeless still lay on the sides of the street

Among goats and dirt and squaller

Many sick and dying

With no-one to care

Young mothers with children

Beg at the door

We know we must help

But how much do we care

What sacrifices do we make

We give but at what cost to ourselves

We lay in our warm comfortable beds at night

Our hunger satisfied

Knowing we are loved

But our brothers and sisters

Lay hungry and cold

Not even knowing love

And the comfort of a bed when they are sick

Just the cold concrete floor

What do we do?

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