by Scott McAllister

Getting late on a Saturday night when a French friend of ours that works at the nearby wind turbine farm calls us up to see if we’d like to meet him bright and early the following morning to go rock climbing in the nearby town of Wukro. This is how excited we were:1961573_10100455682687055_1551591692_n

After a short drive accompanied by some chill non-Ethiopian music, both of which our French pal provided, we breakfasted at small street-side joint. Jessi had the special nashef – flash fried bits of bread doused in a spicy tomato and berbere sauce and topped with diced onions, hot peppers, more tomatoes, yoghurt and scrambled eggs – while I had the special full – an Egyptian-inspired dish consisting of cooked and mashed flava beans mixed with that same spicy tomato and berbere sauce and topped with scrambled eggs and yoghurt. FYI:  our meals were “special” because they came with eggs…

Two other Frenchmen, rolling up in a white pick-up identical to their compatriot’s,  joined us at table while we were eating. They, too, were going to climb. Three wiry young Ethiopian boys were sitting in the bed of their truck, jouncing back and forth while the driver jerkingly parallel parked. From the look of these kids, I could tell they were going to out-climb us all.

Sure enough, these kids flashed most of the routes we went to. Traversing rock faces with no more grip than what they could crimp with their fingertips, these kids made us look weak by comparison. Although Jess and I didn’t get very many photos of them flashing the rocks that day, here’s a few to give you an idea of where we were. 1891369_10102183828536935_1865902561_o 1669788_10102183817359335_2049448724_o 1598576_10102183835792395_1075509551_o 10000285_10100455682901625_466605745_n 1978427_10102183839045875_395457331_o 1960206_10100455683056315_911448551_n