We drive on super nice roads, of course all laid out by the Chinese. The road meanders through the mountains with often huge amounts of boulders on the road. After or during a rain, you do not want to be on the road here! In the north of Ethiopia, it is clear to us why the drought is being discussed in this country. This part of Ethiopia is located in the Sahel (region that lies between the humid south and the Sahara). It is a strong contrast with the green environment where we come from. The rainy season that normally starts around June has not yet begun, so the last few are the hardest.
Food aid in Ethiopia
We regularly encounter the super new trucks from USAID in this area. In the villages they distribute bags with a kind of flour, which is used for bread or mixed with teff flour to make the Injera (local pancake that they always eat with their meal). It is not difficult to spot that America’s help comes from, because the American flag is big on the bag. We see in some villages people busy to transport the bags further by horse and cart or with donkey and in other villages they have heard that the trucks are coming so they are waiting for what is coming. It strikes us that the trucks only drive on the main road and as soon as we are off the road and are inland we no longer see any bags of food or the new trucks. It is therefore a long journey for many people to pick up a bag of food. </ Span>
Creativity with few resources
If you do not have much or do not have access to the stuff that we experience as normal in the Western world, you have to be creative. It is fantastic to see what they make of old car parts. We find old oil filters when making coffee, old wheel bearings are used as wheels for barrows and other carts. We also see old axles of cars in the horse and cars.
Former war with Eritrea
Along the way to the rock churches of Tigray, war from the past with Eritrea is clearly visible. We see old army houses that serve as lookouts, we meet tanks and other military vehicles and pass refugee camps. Although the armistice has been in effect for many years, it is clear that the two countries do not trust each other and Ethiopia is absolutely right about that, because Eritrea unfortunately has one of the worst dictators in Africa that is all but good for his local population. . Along the way we also meet Jen and Craig again, where we said goodbye in Addis after 3 weeks of traveling together. Our roads cross each other so we find a place where we can have a coffee before we both go on. The whole village is so curious that everyone comes running to the car and two motorcycles to catch a glimpse. When we say goodbye, there are enough people to wave us.
Balancing on an edge of a 500 meter high cliff!
Near the village of Hawzien we thought for a moment the rock church; Abuna Yemata Guh to visit. This became a super tough climb that turned out to be a life-threatening journey halfway through. In order to get there we climb up over stones. Until the mountain becomes so steep that we have to climb upwards with a rope. Just as you think you are there, the icing on the cake is a small edge next to the 500-meter cliff which is supposed to represent the path to the carved-out church. What a trip, but what a fantastic view! On the way back down in the valley we are accompanied by all the children in the village. At the owner of the cabin where we parked the car we drink a cold drink. Of course he does not have Electra for a fridge, but he keeps the drinks cold by digging them into his cabin and wetting the mud.
Preview: Danakil Depression
We continue to Mekele where we will stay for a few days to visit the Danakil Depression. The hottest place on earth with an active volcano Erte Ale. More follows, but for the enthusiasts already a very interesting documentary about this (7 parts total 1 hour, see the link at the bottom of the message).
Here is the documentary about the Danakil Depression (7 parts total 1 hour, see the link at the bottom of the message).