01 July 2007

Final Post from the Horn

Apologies for all the frivolous top 10 lists, so perhaps a little background to fill things in a bit. Its going to be difficult to leave Ethiopia, Monday night. Without a doubt, this six months has had a profound impact on the way we see things. A little tweaking to the lens through which we perceive. Its been a fascinating, mindboggling, and challenging environment. While neither of us are in any real hurry to return to the western-affluent-civilized world, what is the one thing that we will be overjoyed to have back? The one thing that we are somewhat craving? Come on, be honest, because we really do love it here (despite what our national readership suggests).

I dont mind the oblivious drivers who would never imagine looking one way before pulling out, or heaven forbid, using their turn signals. I dont detest the lack of infrastructure (transportation, communication, other systems of efficiency to name a few). I probably can get by with shoddy to nonexistent internet, however much I groan. I can withstand the ubiquitous horns and necessity for earplugs to sleep at night. I can even adapt to the immersive and omnipresent smog of pollution. *I should note that this is the very thing that Mrs. C simply cannot withstand. For her, pollution being the thick coat-of-soot-on-your-face-right-after-a-shower that it is, is a significant coffin nail.

For me, the main issue of disenchantment is the lack of anonymity, the impossibility of invisibility--for the white faranj. I look forward to be able to walk down the street and no one notice me. I dont want anyone to shout or point or stare or follow me. I cherish the thought of being completely ignored. At this point, I'd like to take some lessons from Mr Yorke on how to completely disappear. Funny to think that being average, standard and generic could ever be such a high priority.

While we are very excited about speedy internet, text messages, family time, 110W, no diesel pollution, reliable utilities, old friends, sushi, anonymity, specialty grocery items---overall, we are sad to leave here. I have retained over 10GBs of selected photos and 17 mini DV tapes of film. I suppose many pros could shoot that in a span of a couple weeks, but its an amount of footage that will take an enormous amount of sifting, even after all the undesirable stuff has already been deleted. That translates to almost 4000 useable photos and some 17 hours of video but no, I dont intend to profit by displaying the sights of what I have captured. I cant even imagine thinking that way. The thing that is so phenomenal about Ethiopia is that people really are rich in human terms. My motivation surpasses simply showing an African's plight, but instead the grandeur beneath it. Despite the abject despondency of their living situation, the folks are smiling, full of life and vitality. Its something that many Westerners cant fathom--a life apart from material comfort, minamin. Blessings to all the Ethiopian who have enriched our lives and challenged us to see the human condition in new ways.

See other faranj exits posts here and here.

1 comment:

rebecca said...

Insert American Idol theme song here... "I'm going home..." Looking foward to seeing you all soon. Have a safe trip! - Rebecca