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Day 3: sampling coffee and ‘injera’ in Ethiopia

We left at 5.30 am to get to a small village about an hour and a half away. Everybody was very tired, but soon sparked up when we got out of the cars. A farmer took us to an open area and showed us where his crops had died. Children appeared from nowhere; they were looking after oxen and camels. The children followed us and I took some pictures of them. They loved it when I showed them pictures of themselves. We had some notepads and pencils which we handed out, as well as some sweets. They were ecstatic.

We then went to a small hut, where a lady was making some coffee. She also brought out her last bit of ‘injera’ for us all to share. It was very kind of her. She told us how her husband had died 7 years ago, and she had to bring up her children alone. She commended her community on how much they had helped her in the months after her husbands passing.

I talked to her 15-year-old daughter and asked her about her life. She told me that she collected water everyday, with her camel and donkey, and when she had a free minute she tried to concentrate on her studies.

Her life was really interesting. Her younger sister kept running up to me, because earlier I had given her a small notepad, which I had brought with me from the UK, and she was showing it to her whole family. She was 7 years old, but she looked about 5 because she was so small.

After that we went to another hut and met an older couple who could remember the famine in 1984. They told us about their friends and family who left the village to try and look for work, and who they never saw or heard from again. Even though there lives had been very tough, they both had a great sense of humour, and were laughing and making jokes the whole time. The man was saying that “God would help them” and he said that “It was God’s will” if he wanted the crops to grow or not.

After speaking to them we met another much younger family, who told us about their lives. When asked about being a farmer, the father told us that he was really upset with his own father for not letting him go to school. His father had needed him to help him herd goats, and so as a young boy he had never got a proper education, and therefore had to become a farmer.

The man said that he would never do that to his son, and his son could choose what ever he wanted to be in life. After we left, we drove to a local Save the Children office. The women did a special coffee ceremony for us, and had layered big leaves on the floor for people to sit on. They also provided us with popcorn, which I was not expecting, but apparently it is quite common to have it served with a meal in Ethiopia.

After driving for a while we parked at the side of a road, where there were some more huts. We were led through a huge field of dead crops, and the farmer who owned them explained that he would feed his dead crops to the animals, as that is the only thing they could be used for now.

There was a years’ worth of food in the field; because the rains were late, the crops had died.

Everything that I saw in Ethiopia amazed me. The way the people lived their lives was so interesting. Even though they had very little, they were very kind and appreciative. It really made me appreciate what I had.

I would definitely go back!

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