Well….with my tent and the cutest dog in the world…
Here I go
I really-really-really am traveling on my own through Africa. On the tractor, with the dog.
The total un-reality of the moment is starting to lose it’s grip on me. Three days ago I still had cold feet. (What am I doing…! This cliffhanger has been stretched for so long even I almost forgot what is was all about )
But this morning I dived head first into it. I went to do shopping. In North Kenya there is a long ongoing drought and a famine. But I cant’t circumnavigate the area, I have to pass right through. And it’s a little daunting. During a spell of food poisoning two weeks ago I think I lost most of my fat reserves. Fat-level wise I’m ready for a Miss-pageant. But for this leg of the journey, adding some internal supplies is wiser.
So I’m happy with the Nutella I find, the cans of tuna, and hey, even some Vegemite! And here in Awasa they have fresh fruitjuices; I just ordered my fourth mango-avocadojuice. Jummy.
I’m on the tractor, behind the wheel, with the laptop on my…lap but I can’t send my message yet because it’s raining. A curious contrast to further down the road. Why relief-organisations did not act sooner to avoid this disaster 446 km from here I don’t know. I’m assuming it’s political but, whos politics? I see foodpackets along the roadside. (Even though there’s water and food here!)
People sell them…..The bags that read`: ‘Don’t sell, donation food!
But let us not get too cynical…
One thing I do want to say, because it is in my face all the time here, is this. To all people who want to do good. To everybody who wants to help others: Think what you do before you start on a journey through Ethiopia (Or any country for that matter). Realise what you are actually doing by simply handing out pens and t-shirts. You will see a happy face for a few seconds. But this country has become a place where as a foreigner you cannot walk around without being hassled. All the time. Everybody only wants money off you. Children with icecream in their hands, the old people, the horse taxi with eight passengers…the only thing they can think of when they see a white person is; ‘Hey you, give me money.’ In Sudan the police would even forget to ask me for my passport. They’d be so surprised to see me and my tractor that all they would utter is: …..cup of tea..?
Maybe Ethiopia is the ‘end of the world’ and not Sudan. If people can’t see you as a human being anymore but only as a walking wallet. If begging has become a Pavlov reaction and has little or nothing to do with poverty. I know. It’s hard to blame them. It’s also us, us stupid people from the west that can’t handle our feeling of quilt and start handing out stuff as if it’s nothing.
I try every day with all the positive energy I have in me to start with; ‘Hey hello, how are you?’ And sometimes, just sometimes, it works. But every time it doesn’t, it cuts into your soul.
If you would like to do something. Drop it of at a school, donate to a local project, buy their coffee, sweets, souvenirs. But don’t make them dependend on begging. Ultimately you undermine and take away their dignity. And block them from having a funny or valuable time with other people from other parts of the world.
Now I’m travelling alone, life has become a litle more simple. I don’t travel with a following and a lot of bombast. I am genuinely a little girl on a big tractor. Discovering the world, and it’s beautiful and less beautiful ways. The funny thing (tip of the day!) is that being well-rested works so wonderfully. The world seemed to smile back so much more easily to me today. It really works both ways.
Latest doggy news: Kosovo has Mick Jagger lips! All of a sudden a doggy stood in front of me that I hardly recognised: ‘Kosovo, you look like Mick Jagger!’ The doggy pondered on this and scratched his mouth with his paws: ‘My god, she’s right!” He stretched himself on the floor and buried his face with both paws. “Oh no, what’s happened? Auch, it itches too!’ He tried quietly to console himself in a corner. But a little later when I took him, in a car, of all, he was already curious as to our direction: ‘Where are we going?’ What’s that smell?’ Is that donkey I smell?” Hey don’t worry about me,…those lips are very normal for doggies my age its..ehm part of shedding, yeah that’s it, part of shedding, nothing more…I’ll be fine.
But there it was, the injection. I had no idea either but you know what, even though the dog didn’t like it a bit, and tried to crawl away at every opportunity, I was very thankfull to the vet. That he did not only care for the wellbeing of cows, donkeys and horses but also about little doggies. I’ll see it as a sign. A good one. This man (or I should say boy) is the first vet on my travels so far that actually has something for this travelling dog. For when he gets parasites, or bumps into a scorpion. No those jaggerlips weren’t so bad. We’ll head off, heads up tomorrow. But first we get some more beautysleep. Goodnight.