Early morning is my favourite part of the day here. After waking just as the sun is rising, its wonderful to stand outside with my Ethiopian coffee and just listen to the sounds of village life. The thing I notice most of all is the com-lete absence of traffic noise and I have never heard or seen a plane anywhere in the sky which is clear and pollution free. Instead what I here are the bleats and brays of goats sheep and donkeys, the occasional bullock bellowing and often children laughing or calling out. There are lots of small bird calls and coo-ing from pigeons. If there is little wind, smoke from cooking fires hangs over the houses across the field and I often catch a woody, eucalypt aroma if the wisps of smoke drift my way. There are always a few people about walking quietly along behind their goats or bullocks as they move them off to pastures somewhere, but there are no fences other than the one surrounding the hospital compound. Village life can seem idyllic at that time of day, and maybe even for the villagers for a brief time it is.
|A row of houses and a pile of tef straw|
I saw two women and two men preparing this plastering material one day, walking round and round in knee deep mud, trampling in the straw scattered across the top. A week later they have yet to start plastering the deteriorating walls of the house beside it – perhaps they are waiting for it to stiffen up a bit. The mesh into which the mud and straw is pressed is made of branches, and the plastering apparently needs redoing about every ten years.– the raw materials are all free and biodegradable, and of course you do it yourself. A pretty good example of recycling and sustainability, the carbon footprint of poverty is probably invisible.