Vibrating without knowing why (my first trip to Ethiopia)

Just before departing for my inaugural venture in Ethiopia (for the Afar Textile Project), my colleagues at Ayzoh! had cautioned me: “Be careful, it’s a country that enchants you, but you’ll never quite grasp why.”

How true it was…

The animals calmly crossing the road.
The scamper of monkeys across rooftops.
Journeying in the backseat alongside a chicken, for 400 km.
Ten push-ups after conceding a goal from the opposing team.

The sun scorching on your skin, and rain drenching you moments later.
The infectious rhythm of music, of dance.

The shouts of people gathering trash, waking you at six in the morning.

The curious gazes of people greeting you on the streets, calling out: “Ferenji! Ferenji!” The unexpected affection of two children you’ve just met, who refuse to let you go after half an hour.

The invitation to share food, which you can never decline.
The scent of freshly roasted coffee.
The sweetness of freshly prepared mango juice.
Tears in your eyes from accidentally biting into a green chili.

Endless hours amidst the traffic.

Getting lost in the vast crowd at Merkato.
Minibuses overflowing with people.
Bajajs that always seem on the verge of tipping over but never do.

As a photographer, I prefer to speak through images rather than words, but the truth is that some sensations can’t be explained, neither in one way nor another. It’s life assaulting you through sounds, tastes, colors, and emotions. You vibrate, but you don’t know why.