Cris in Ethiopia

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Posted by Cris on April 14, 2007

When I was a Boy Scout I didnt care much for the badges; I liked the hiking and camping more. My mom, every now and again, would nag at me to get some badges and keep moving up in the ranks- that I was “…just stagnating where I was at and if I wasnt going to move up what was the use?” Whenever she would say this I would picture a swamp, with slow or not-moving water covered in a thick layer of scum. Mosquitos swarmed, the air was ripe and pungent, and every once in a while a crocodile would float by.

On my walk to the internet just now I saw a sewer that brought these memories to mind. It was raining steadily (I thought the rainy season started in JULY…) and the water in the sewer wasnt going anywhere, just stagnating. It was within six inches of breaching the “levy”, as it were, and lots of water was still moving in. It could be a bad scene if somebody doesnt get in there and remove the blockage. The rest of the sewers, youll be happy to know, are boiling right along, doing their job of shunting all the sicko water from the city out into some unlucky rice-paddy-esque outlying shantytown. Not only the water, but the weeks worth of trash thrown into the sewers: household garbage as well as countless sheep heads, dead cats, rotten fruit, and probably somewhere, a dead body or two.

On my way home from the orphanage this morning a boy held up a rock, and I feared he was going to throw it at me. Instead he smiled and said, “Its a stone, yes?” I agreed, and he rain to his mother looking quite pleased.

Before the rain started and also on my way home from the orphanage I saw a thick black line of ants cruising down the road. Wondering where they were headed I followed them into the ditch, where I discovered a new severed goat head, at most a few days old. The two week-old sheep heads on our street have turned a pea-soup color and are starting to smell. I want to tell the walking garbage ladies to take them away, but I dont know how in Amharic. Ill ask during our next lesson.


One Response to “Stagnation”

  1. Rokhaya Ba said

    Your comment about boyscouts and camping reminded me of a comment my current travelling companion made the other day: being in Africa is like permamently camping. I died laughing.

    Maybe to take care of the severed sheep head in the streets and gutters problem I could forward you that recipe for the sick sheep head soup they cook in Senegal.

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