Africa Plus travel blog


Countryside:

Jacaranda Trees blooming with beautiful lavender flowers....

They carry loads on their backs in baskets or water in clay jugs...in W. Africa nearly everything was carried on the head. Ag scene is very neat & tidy, all grain & hay/straw harvest is done by hand sickle; bullock carts haul hay in rect. vertical stacks, very carefully mounded hay/straw in dome shaped mounds 4-6' high and wide dot the fields(hundreds of these mounds). In central locations in fields, grain is tramped upon by 3-5 brahmas(bulls/cows) steered in circles and then w/ wood forks the chaff is separated from grain by throwing it into the air and wind blowing away the chaff. It is as if we were looking at workers 500+ yrs ago. Plowing w/ brahma & chizel/moldboard plow. Saw them using straw to stuff/make mattresses and footstools covered w/ hides. Livestock...many cattle, horses, sheep, and goats plus lots of donkeys. There is much more act'y in the countryside than other countries in W...people walk everywhere, perhaps 25-30% have no shoes, wear no foot cover, not even flip flops. Men & boys almost all carry a 4-5' staff, wear a white shawl over shoulders, often wear shorts; women wear dresses but not nearly as colorful as fabrics in W. Terrain is much more variable, canyons, mtns, plains. Hillsides are terraced by garden plots(many growing drug qat!) or grazing. Thirty years ago 70% was forested, now less than 3%... houses in rural areasare all wood/pole, post construction chinking between and sometimes even mud/straw plaster over all. Tin roofs mostly and rectangular not round as in W. Africa altho some are w/ thatch roof. Livestock roams free, fencing is around small garden plots for the most part. Everything from the fields is cleared off and used.

Many carry umbrellas against the sun here...saw almost no umbrellas in W. Africa. While we were on a minibus to Gondar an egg lady w/ her basket of perhaps 4-5 doz eggs got in. Later another go on w/ her 4 chickens...yes, it was the end of market day and this was the final (literally) chicken run. The girl w/ eggs bargained back and forth w/ dirver to pay her way with eggs and another passenger bought a couple doz. The process was fascinating, choosing which eggs took a very long time, judging size & handing them back and forth by 2s and 3s. Since the ride was 3 hours it did a very effective job of passing the time...entertainment for all!

We saw many stacks of round dung patties(size to small plates) just like India, they use it for fires and heating.



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