- Encounters with locals
- Off the beaten track
I absolutely loved Chencha. I went on market day with a young local man who took me to visit the Dorze weaving community (8 kilometres from Chencha). They are very well-known, and even as a tourist I was never under the impression that I was disturbing local life. Nobody asked me for money which is rare in Ethiopia. On the contrary, I was invited to smoke the large traditional tobacco pipes with the village elders, and I even tried their spices.
We ended up at Ted Betou High School, which is actually a local bar where on market day everybody meets up to drink tej, a mead served in special flasks. As it happens it was my birthday and as a result I got the traditional welcome chants from all the inhabitants, clapping to the rhythm for the singers who improvised one by one. This encounter was one of the most significant moments of my trip to Ethiopia.
A little tipsy from the alcohol we went on to the Toro waterfalls following a path leading back down to Dorze. I was expecting a small fall, but in fact these are really powerful waterfalls, 30 metres high, and reached by crossing fields, pine forests and streams. The walk is truly beautiful.