The day of my birth

Today is my birthday and a day off so my body can recover a bit.

I spent the morning at the “crocodile market” as it’s called, looking for crocodiles with a pretty Italian woman named Sofia and her Spanish friend, Mariana.  They were staying at the same “lodge” and I ended up being the third wheel on the tour, as I was the only loner in the crowd who didn’t have anyone to go to market with.

The crocodile market isn’t a market as one would suspect where you can buy yourself a snazzy pair of croc cowboy boots or a sporty croc leather jacket, it turns out it’s just the name someone gave a beach on the lake where crocodiles lay around sunning themselves.  As it is flood season in Ethiopia, the market was apparently closed as we only saw two crocs.

Regardless it was a fine morning and I was in good company with Sofia and Mariana.  As it turns out, Sofia has spent the last year living in Ethiopia, helping homeless children with adoption, setting up schooling for the kids and building women & children community programs.  Basically, a really good person who is dedicating this portion of her life to helping others.  No shit, what are the odds?  Although I was certainly enlightened on the issues Ethiopians are facing, it didn’t change my thinking that general financial aid is just making the problem worse.

Mariana was also volunteering her time to helping the kids. Seriously, kinda uncanny I meet these two.  When not helping out in the orphanages, I’m pretty sure Mariana is a political refugee from Barcelona.  She was quite cagey when I pressed her for info on the situation there.  I think helping impoverished children is her cover.

Anyway, I wished them the best after the market, as they were headed into town to meet up with another good Samaritan who enjoys helping others before themselves.  Not exactly the trip I’m on….

They went to town and I went to the bar that night. What else does a guy do in Arba Minch on his birthday when he’s alone?  So I bought a bottle, sat at the bar and silently drank, while wishing I was home with my BFF – Nettie.

Tomorrow I leave for the Kenya border.

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