"Today is April 1," grinned Hailay.
"Yes, I do not play," I said.
Hailay had picked me up with his driver and another passenger on the edge of Debra Birhan. When we reached Desse, about six hours later, he suddenly said:
"My boss said we should stay here for a few days."
And this was not a joke from April Fool. His sudden change of narration and the fact that he had never had anyone on the phone for the past 6 hours had got the hint of nonsense about my nose.
"So goodbye." He gave me my guitar and turned around.
I have never been so dropped in three years of elevators. Even Juhar, my fellow passenger, who had come down from the ride after what seemed to be a heated argument, had left. Collecting my packs I walked down the road when the sun went down and the clouds settled on the edge of the city of Desse and collided with him.
"Those guys are stupid," he said, confirming their bullshittiness.
& # 39; Good luck & # 39 ;, I wished him while he transported to Makele, about 450 kilometers north. Desse was halfway, 429 km north of Addis Ababa, where I had left that morning, starting with a walk of 8 km, with my 30 kilos to Tsegye, Tsodesa and Tsomer decided to help me.
"Where are you going?" I asked.
& # 39; Debre Birhan, & # 39; Tsgeye said.
I jumped into it.
"Here the runners train on long distances," Tsegye remarked that the long-legged people are running on the road.
The worldwide success of Ethiopia in walking at the marathon is due to the fact that training is done at great heights of more than 2,500 meters.
"Birhan used to be the capital in the 13-14th century," he added just before I was dropped off a few K & # 39; s in front of the city. I said goodbye to them and was quickly picked up by Wande, Solomon and Daniel.
After a little philosophizing, they invited me for a cup of coffee. I brought out Ol & # 39; Red and stopped some Johnny Cash and earned my caffeine supply. The boys brought me to the edge of the city where I waved to the horsemen and the buggy drivers who offered me a lift while walking about 3 km down the road. Many buses and minibuses (taxis) are radiated by the city with heavily loaded trucks. I was glad that the cabs did not stop to harass me, as they did in every country I hung on. The lack of motorcycles also made it more peaceful.
But I was a little worried about the lack of private cars. I decided to stop after crossing a bridge and it was here that Hailay, his driver, Seuyum and their passenger, Juhar stopped for me. Juhar chewed on ghat and offered me something. I accepted a few branches and chewed on the leaves.
"We're going to Makele," Hailay had said. "But we'll be there tomorrow, today we're going as far as we can."
back.Where do you go? "one of them asked.
Makele, & # 39; I said. "Do you know where I can set up a tent?"
The boy looked at the space between his cafe and the parked truck on the side of the highway. "Here," he said for the vehicle.
"And it's good?" I asked. "I can play some music for you."
"No problem," he said.
I dropped my packs and brought my tent outside. The children threw in, waving the flashlights on their phones to help, grabbed the corners, fed the poles in the slides and within ten minutes my tent and bedding were ready. I then produced Ol & # 39; Red and sat under the canvas of the coffee shop just as the rain started.
My tent is not waterproof.
I blocked some tunes and suddenly I was surrounded by 20 people. A woman in the crowd leaned inside.
"Why do not you stay at the hotel?" She asked.
I have explained my stray ways.
"We give you money, you go to the hotel," she insisted.
"No", I politely refused. "I play music for food and bed."
"So let me give you food," she said. "Do you eat njera?"
Njera is made from the teff grain, native to Ethiopia. It is considered a superfood full of iron and lots of fiber. Ethiopians will eat it 3-4 times a day. And always with dips made from a variety of beans and chickpeas. Shiro is the most important of chickpeas – and always spicy.
As with Ugali, some foods that I can only do once a day. And njera was one of them. And because I just had a plate of pasta two hours ago and was still full, I did not really feel the need. But this is perhaps my only chance to dine.
"OK", I said. & # 39; Amasegnalehu, & # 39; I thanked her in Amarhic, a word that took me two weeks to get my tongue. As she walked into the rain, I kept jamming until she came back with a plate of njera covered with shiro and a bottle of water.
I took a break and could only eat half of the dish.
& # 39; I can finish this board, & # 39; she antagonized me.
"I can not do it," I begged her for forgiveness. "It is yitafatal," let her know that it was very good, so she gave in with a smile and took the board away from me.
It was getting late and I was ready to go to bed when Jibril, the child who turned 18, said, "Come, stay in my house."
Music offers everything you need in this world.
I grinned at my savior. The children helped me pack my tent when the rain got stronger. I was led off the highway, down the slope through a forest with trees and in a warm house.
"This is my sister," he introduced me to his family. "My little brother," he pointed to the child on the mattress in the large living room, "and this is my friend, Abdu."
I shook hands with everyone and leaned forward on my knees as I grabbed my right arm with my left hand, a sign of respect when I greet someone.
"Do you want to eat?" Jibril asked.
After two servings of njera in the two-hour time, I was so full that I had no room for chewing gum.
"No, please", I tried to explain without insulting, "I am very full. You saw, I could not finish the njera that the woman gave me. & # 39;
"I bring you njera," Jibril disappeared.
A moment later he came back with a plate of the soft, pancake-like dish, with a hint of sourness and a blob of shiro.
I took a deep breath, not that I actually had some room to contain oxygen and started to eat.
& # 39; Please, & # 39; I offered everyone around me.
They all refused.
I forced myself to carry half of the portion and did my very best to try to explain with every familiar sign on the planet that I was being stuffed like a baboon's donkey.
Tea was presented and then, a discussion about religion – "We are Muslims", Abdu informed me.
"Salam al-yekum," I said.
I am always asked which religion I am and I always end up discussing what Karma is. "Do good things, good things happen," I would say. "Do bad, and shit goes down."
Some people tell me that they feel sorry for me because they do not believe in a deity. I always chuckle and say, "Do not do that, I'm very happy as you can see."
Jibril's sister spoke a little Arabic and so I was allowed to practice the little I knew, a good exercise when I was on my way to Sudan.
"Tomorrow we are going to the lake," Jibril suggested.
"Yes," I accepted. A bed was prepared for me and I touched the bag, the rain clattered a ruthless rhythm on the roof of the iron plate – all night. I could not stop grinning.
In the end, everything always goes well.
Originally posted on The Nomadic Diaries.
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Photos thanks to the author.