Bahar-Dar, Ethiopia

  • Date
  • 24 September 2000

Bahar Dar with palms, green leafy trees and bushes of red, yellow, purple and orange flowers is quite lovely. I kept wondering if all those horrible Russian towns we saw in Siberia would look better, like this even, if flowers surrounded the dismal, concrete architecture.

Walking down a main boulevard lined with flowering trees, I passed many looking quite shocked to see a foreigner enjoying a stroll through their city. Little girls tried to sell me fruit and several young children held their hands in the universal ‘give money’ gesture. The ones who knew a little English muttered ‘hello’ and ‘you’. One teenage boy kept screaming ‘F___ you Mother F_____’ and ‘I’m going to kill you’. For some reason I didn’t feel threatened, since I figured these were the few English words he knew. I just hated knowing someone, or something, taught the boy such offensive phrases. I tried to enter the university grounds but a guard stopped me – still the old mentality of ‘no’ being the easiest answer to everything. A little girl around six years old followed me for a few minutes continually calling me ‘mister’. Hearing the sound of water, I looked up to a massive water tank with an enormous water leak falling to the ground offering showers to the hot children playing underneath and enjoying simple pleasures.