A Cup Of Humanity

As I push forth through the final hill on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the firewood carriers have captured my attention.  Women, bundles of firewood strapped to their mule shaped backs. peer down into the shadows of the mountainside. Their tiny strong thighs stride forward up the road to greet another day.  Fueled by nothing but biscuits due to a rotten food encounter, Pandemic The Magic Bicycle continues to cycle upward through the mountains into the surprisingly modern city’s edge.

However, I cannot focus on my own pedal pushing endeavors.  The fire wood carriers, as refered to by int'l human rights group, are baring the steep gradient barefoot.  Is there not an alternative. Could the needed firewood used for cooking fuel not be obtained more humanely? Where are their husbands to help share the weight? I think  to myself.  Multi-generation mule type activities imposed on the family’s females has heightened my emotions many times before while pedaling through Asia, the Middle East and now Africa.  

Angered by women’s slave like circumstances in many places in the world, I climb. Overwhelmed by their stout determined roadside stride, I climb. Confused by accepted genre roles in many cultures, I climb. Amongst frowning females and the occasional grin of a ignorant to an easier life youngster, I climb. With the modern capital city of Addis Ababa in plain view I descend, an age old traditional Ethiopian coffee in the city a waits.

“I want to open an orphanage to teach boys how to be men”, I am enjoying famous Ethiopian coffee in the heart of the city with an Ozzie man with a dream.  “What do you mean?”, I ask, although after seeing women carrying loads of wood and other goods on their mule shaped backs for weeks, I am fairly certain I know where this Ozzie with a dream is heading.

“Women bear the brunt of the heavy lifting and daily work, men here are lazy”. I sit happy to have found an evolved mind, and smiling to have not ranted my angered rowdy feminist thoughts first. Struggling to accept with any amount of support what I continue to see, like a firecracker to it’s first flame, my westernized mouth explodes.  “I don’t understand why people don’t realize that a job like carrying huge quantities of wood every single day would be accomplished far easier if everybody helps, although, what these tiny women can carry is truly remarkable.” The Ozzie man with a dream simply grins and says, “Yes, I want to open an orphanage so I can teach boys how to be men and teach them how to treat women with admiration and respect”.  With my grateful enlightened grin fueled by a cup of humanity and manly wisdom, I pedal up another of the world’s hills in the remarkably modern capital of Addis, Ethiopia

(Shortly after writing this I picked up the local English language newspaper, The Reporter. Inside was an article about the firewood carriers.  Turns out while collecting the days firewood there is also a  rape problem.  If they have the money they can bribe the guards in the forest not to rape them. Most can't afford the bribe.)

1 comment:

Connected in Hope said...

We'd love for you to check out Connected in Hope Foundation and our work with the Wood Carriers in Ethiopia.


Skalatitude..."When humans and nature are living in harmony there is magic and beauty everywhere"

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