The sidewalks and streets were crowded with children rushing in their school uniforms to the French School. Luxury cars were pulling up to dispatch kids and teachers. There was a wide range of cars: Cadillacs, Lincolns, Mercedes-Benzes. They were being driven by parents of every nationality and the children spoke a mix of languages; Amharic and Italian, English, and, of course, French.
At the corner of our compound wall was a busy intersection with a stop light controlling the heavy traffic, and this early morning, as I stepped out into the city sidewalk, I saw standing in the middle of the intersection a huge Rastafarinan looking Ethiopian wearing an wild assortment of rags and animal skins.
It took me a few moments to realize that life was not “normal” on the street. Crowds of people had halted; they were banked together on the sidewalk watching the Rastafarian Ethiopian.
He had brought all the traffic to a complete stop. He was holding back cars and trucks, herds of animals, and keeping pedestrians at bay with a long spear and a raised curved handmade sword that he waved violently, lunging at any car that dared to venture into the intersection that he now commanded with full authority.