After a few days traveling through Ethiopia, I really see no change from one location to the other. I’m not sure what to say, other than Ethiopia has issues. I’m sure we all remember the TV commercials with the little starving babies and a message at the end telling the fat Americans how much they waste in food every year, and where to send their money to help.
This may be where the problem started. In 2017, the US will pump in $454 million in food and medical aid to Ethiopia. Here’s how I see it. You have a garage with a few mice in it. Now throw a handful of corn into the garage every day and see how that helps with your mice problem. The mice won’t leave the garage and will only multiply. Now your mice problem is much worse, and to top it off, some of the mice will start dying because their all competing for the same food. So, now you need to throw two handfuls of corn into the garage to help with the starving mice. See where this is going?
With no real infrastructure and no apparent desire to practice birth control, I don’t see this problem getting any better. Most women I see working the fields beside the roads have a baby on their back and or one in the oven. Where are the other 4 they’ve already had? The kids are uneducated, flat out ignorant, and certainly not attending school. They’re hanging out on the roadside or in the small towns and tossing rocks at people like me.
I’ve traveled through what some would call some fairly “sketchy” areas, but for the first time, passing through some of the towns in central Ethiopia, I was really concerned for my well-being. Not in a truly intentionally harmful way, but in a completely reckless, somebody is going to hurt me way.
On my way to Arba Minch, I was intentionally ran off the road while passing a car, had a machete pointed inches away from me while riding through town; I thought I was going to impale myself on it – way too close, and got blasted in the ribcage by a baseball size object at 60 mph. It left a mark, and not an emotional one.
When I’m off he bike and walking through town, it’s a different story. Sure, there’s lots of begging and prodding, but not the harmful type I experience on the road. Not sure what it’s going to take to help the problem, but population control seems like a great place to start.