Archive - April 13, 2022

“An Unexpected Love Story — The Women of Bati”

“An Unexpected Love Story — The Women of Bati”

 by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64)   If the reader prefers, this may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a piece of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact. — Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast • AT AN ELEVATION OF 4,000 FEET,  the town of Bati, Ethiopia, off the Dessie Road, is the last highland location before the Danakil Depression. A hard day’s drive from the Red Sea, it’s famous only for its Monday market days when the Afar women of the Danakil walk up the “Great Escarpment” to trade with the Oromos on the plateau. These women arrive late on Sunday, and with their camels and tents, they cover the grassy knob above the town. They trade early in the next morning for grain, cloth, livestock, and tinsels and trinkets imported from Addis Ababa, 277 kilometers to the south. Numbering as . . .

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