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:
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.