Today is Blog Action Day, a day every year where bloggers focus on a single issue. This year the issue is water so I'm sharing some of my images of the lush uplands of Ethiopia.
Wait. . .Ethiopia? That place where there's only deserts and starving children? One of the things I love about being a travel writer is exploding myths. The central Ethiopian highlands actually get a fair amount of rain and are green and fertile. This is one of the reasons that there's been a civilization there for thousands of years. These shots were taken in the Amhara province about a hundred miles northeast of the capital Addis Ababa.
There are a lot of villages in this region. Overpopulation is one of Ethiopia's main challenges. There's not enough land and when there's a bad year many people go hungry.
There's water in this stream, but Ethiopia experiences periodic droughts. There was a big one in the Eighties that was exacerbated by a vicious civil war in which both sides burned each other's crops. These two factors led to the great famine that we all remember from TV. Sadly, those images were so seared onto our memories that people don't think there's anything else to this country.
This shot was taken just west of Addis Ababa and shows a family threshing teff, an Ethiopian grain that goes into making that tasty injera bread you might have tried. Teff is a nutritious grain that fetches a high price on the market, although it requires labor-intensive cultivation. These guys are making their cattle walk around on the grain in order to separate it.
For more on my trip to Ethiopia, check out my series on Ethiopia travel at Gadling.