After a short night at the United Pension in Addis Abeba (we arrived at 2 a.m.) we had breakfast at the restaurant next to the guesthouse. If you ever go to Ethiopia, try Fetira with honey for breakfast – it’s simply delicious! Ehtiopians are tough when it comes to the choice of meal for breakfast. One ordered Firfir – a national dish with Injera, vegetables and meat which we Swiss often eat for lunch or dinner (as generally our stomachs are not geared for spicy stuff and that’s why, Immodium and Carboleveur (yeast tablets) become your best friends during such a trip) and another one ate a pizza at 9 o clock in the morning. Really impressive (really).
Then it was time for me and the YEEP committee to head to Hawassa where the start-up week takes place. The others stayed another night in Addis to visit the Merkato (good luck with that guys ;) ) and do some sightseeing. It took about 6 hours to get to Hawassa and it was definitely an adventure. We weren’t alone on the street. Not at all. We shared the street not only with other cars, trucks and walkers, but also with dogs, donkeys, horses, cows and goats and whatever felt like crossing the street. The thing is, I would drive rather slowly in order to avoid hitting anyone or anything but not so our driver. He drove up to 120 km/h – even through villages. No mercy. My suggestion: Don’t look at the street, enjoy the beautiful nature because otherwise you get terrified of what happens outside your car. Let me introduce Rachel at this point. She’s in the YEEP team too and was with us on the trip last August when we first visited Ethiopia. Unfortunately, she’s not here this year. She loves animals (really all kind of animals). For her, the trip from Addis to Hawassa equalled a descent into hell. She was screaming whenever a puppy or a goat or whatever crossed the street and almost “met” our car. Sometimes the space between an animal on the street and the side of our car was – lets say – rather tight. But we never hit any animal (our driver was extremely talented). When we drove the road to Hawassa this year we had again those so-called “Rachel-moments” where we almost hit a donkey or a goat standing on the street like it would be the most normal thing in the world. Imagine: you are sitting in the back of a minibus, staring at the street where a goat is approaching faster and faster. You start estimating the space between the approaching animal and your car. You realize that – if the animal survives - then by a hair. In the last moment you close your eyes in order to avoid seeing the inescapable. You expect to hear a “booom” and then some other not very nice sounds from the animal spinning around the left car wheel. But nothing happens and you feel happy for the next few minutes (actually seconds) until another animal appears on the street…
We had both shocking and surprising moments, but also a lot of “wow moments” for example the second we caught sight of the sunset at 6 p.m. It was breath-taking. There is something with Ethiopia and sunsets – it looks much more impressive than in Switzerland. Last year I took a photo from the sunset at the Lake Hawassa. Simply amazing:
Watching the sunset let us forget all the troubles and “Rachel moments” for a while and we just enjoyed the beautiful view while we were approaching the Campus of the Hawassa University.
A huge “thank you” to the driver – in my view it’s god-given to drive on such crowded streets without killing something…