Exploring the Highest Region

Trip Start Jan 10, 2006
Trip End Jun 02, 2006

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Flag of Ethiopia  ,
Saturday, May 13, 2006

Monday, I visited Ras Mweya, another contact from Christopher in NC. He produces righteous educational videos and comics about Ethiopia, Shashamane and His Majesty. He introduced me to sister Tibebwa, from Ireland, who is also trained in permaculture and has done some tree plantings around Shashamane. I would later learn that Ethiopia was 47% covered in forest during His Majesty's reign. Now, there is less than 2% of the land covered in forest. I told her to come to the workshop.

Tuesday, I took a day trip to the hot springs at Wondo Genet. They were nice and hot. The water is heated by the volcanic action under ground and actually has to be cooled before filling the pools. People come from far and wide to bathe and drink. The locals actually cook potatoes and corn in the hottest water. There's a cold creek for hydrotherapy, too. I was happy to know I was walking in the footsteps of Bob and His Majesty himself. The ride to the springs takes you into a deep valley falling off the plateau that Shashemane sits on. The greenery was rich and the mountains steep. The monoculture plots in the valley are smaller than most places, and there are at least four different main crops being grown - sugar, potatoes, maize and beans - plus bananas and enset.

Wednesday, I began a three-day intro to permaculture workshop for teachers and staff of the JRDC School. Most of the Ethiopian teachers chose not to participate, but I was happy to be working with the few rastas in attendance. Day one was an intro to the subject, and I presented some exercises they could do with the youths at the school. Day two, I gave a slide show of the whole trip from S.A. to Ethiopia. And day three, I presented the knowledge of meeting in ordered council that I had picked up in Zimbabwe. All the ideas were well recieved, and the response was strictly positive. It was nice to be preaching to the choir. I didn't have to explain so much. The participants recieved certificates of attendance.

Thursday morning, Maurice and I went down to Awasa to buy tilapia for his mom. It was easy enough to get to the lake. I felt bad that the fisherman increased the price when they saw me with Maurice. I think it worked out in the end. I was amazed to find that the people each raw fish at the lake shore. Women bring flat bread and hot sauce, which they put on a plate for one birr (12 cents). Then you take your plate down to the boats where the men are filleting the fish. The fillets are cut into small pieces (a heap of fillets is 1 birr), and that's it - like Ethiopian sashimi or sushi - flat bread, raw fish and hot sauce. Maurice had never tried it, but when I told him how good Japanese sushi was, he wanted to. We shared a plate, and it was very good, high energy food. The fish wasn't quite as tender as fresh salmon or tuna. The hot sauce was nice and hot.

Later that day, sister Tibebwa and her co-worker showed up to the slide show. Afterwards, we had much to reason about, but they were rushing to the hot springs, so I went with them. The springs were nice at night, though with all the artificial light, the stars were faint. We eventually had the whole place to ourselves, and stayed at a nice, but cheap, hotel down the hill from the springs. We exchanged a few contacts. I learned of a sister trying to get Midnite to play in Shashamane, a place teaching permaculture in Addis Ababa called Biofarm, and a brother in Mombasa also practicing permaculture. Tibebwa is now on her way to Mombasa to visit him, and I may see her when I get back there next week.

The food here in Ethiopia is so nice and natural, especially living with Jamaicans. My family makes gallons of sorrel weekly. This is a drink common in Jamaica, made of sorrel (rumex acetosa), ginger, lemon and sugar. I'm also served herbal (lemongrass and mint) teas daily. I eat fried fish almost every day, usually with rice and red beans, salad and a red sauce. The sauce is red because of the berbere. It is the most common spice, used here by everyone; berbere is made of red pepper, salt, ginger, garlic, black cumin, anise, etc. Generally, people make their own with their own twists. Some people prefer the simpler and hotter mithamithe, usually made of just red pepper, salt, garlic and ginger. I'll try to ship some back.

Last night, I hung out with the d.j.'s at the Twelve Tribes Headquarters. They have an amazing collection of vinyl, including plenty of l.p.'s and at least 150 45's. I was hearing and seeing records that can't be found anymore. That's not to mention that they have one of the heaviest sound systems I've heard. I'm amazed there's enough power to fire it. I skanked late into the night.
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nini hamilton on

Greeting in the name of the lord god, I have been to shashamane,It,s was a dispiontment, I have seen my brother and sister who came from the west liveing like dog and cat, cry out for help, I was shame to see the school ,what problem,they haveing, all that free donation , for school , and the school looking like they are cry out help,I NEVER SEE so much corruption in rastafari

cpricci on

i must defend shashamane. enough brethren and sistren are force to live like dogs in the west. when you sight his majesty, you put those ways aside and make something better for yourself, no matter what. rastafari don't live like dog. shashamane is for peace and safety. his majesty decree. are you going to tell the father, "thanks but no thanks" for the land he gave us? you can't disrespect shashamane if you never help build it. go there now and see. people are moving, the nations are changing. new millineum shashamane is different than shash of 5 or 10 years ago. more ras arrive, more ras sight his majesty and make things right. you don't sight him, you live like dog, then you not rastafari. the early years were hard. brethren arrive, but can't make it starting from scratch. zion is a test some cannot pass. but enough did make it. their success is the foundation we have to build on. don't squander it.

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