by Joakim Larsen
460 kilometers on winding mountain road in seven hours on the motorcycle makes quite an average speed and it took me from Mekelle to Kemse.
Kemse is a small town located 60 kilometers South of Kombolcha. Despite its size it is busy with lots of pensions and small food houses along the way for it is a preferred night stop for truck drivers heading to and from Addis Ababa.
Taking a walk to stretch my weary body after the long drive, I walked out of town. And here I was greeted by a farmer, an older but very alert gentleman. His eyes were on fire and and his smile was broad and heartfelt. Despite his age, he was agile, strong and fast. He was clearly used to hard physical work and it will take many years before he gives in to aging.
He took me by the hand and resolutely led me around the water way and through a gate in the natural fence to show me his plot of land. It was a good piece of fertile land, around 4.000 square meters. He showed me where he had just planted out chili. He showed me his cabbage and tomato nursery. He showed me his date palm tree, that would produce dates after maybe four to five years, and his banana plant, that already produces bananas around five to six times a year. Finally he pointed out the area where he was planning to grow mango and showed me his red henna plants. He also owned two large, well fed and rather potent bulls. He plans to install a water pump, so it is easier to manage the daily watering of the plants and that seems to be a good investment.
He was proud and hopeful. Proud of owning a good piece of fertile land with a water well on it. Proud of his achievements and proud to show it to me. Hopeful that the yield will be good so he can sell the produce on the market and provide well for his family.
Behind him the area that he intends to use for mango.
"Be careful and don't get too close to the horns,"
he kept warning me. He clearly had respect for both the bulls.
Surrounded by the newly planted chili plants, that need frequent watering.
Sharing is happiness...