Exploring Ethiopia: Wenchi Crater Village and Lake

Hello Dear Readers!

I left off yesterday after some of our culinary adventures in Addis Ababa. Our food throughout our journey was much the same, in that we ate massive quantities of injera and almost nothing else. It was delicious in the way that a piece of bread to a starving man is delicious; which is to say: it did the job but I’m not going to search for it back home.

Anyway, our second day in Addis Ababa dawned bright and early, and we headed out on our tour at 9am. (That is totally early!) We hadn’t booked a private tour, but no one else was signed up, so it was literally us and our two guides.

Wenchi Crater Lake is an extinct volcano, and I had heard really good things about it, so I booked our full day tour via Viator , which was one of the only online booking sites to work in Ethiopia. (Most others required several emails back and forth, while Viator allowed for instant booking).

The drive was around two hours, and the lake was good, but on the way we had an opportunity to stop at and wander through a village market.

Here’s the thing, you guys. I’ve been to a few different places around the world, as you know, but my experience with third world countries is extremely limited. So this trip to Ethiopia was an eye-opener in many ways.

One of those life-changing moments came at the market, where a curious group of children followed us as we walked around, and our guide explained to us that in such a remote location, white people were extremely rare.

So rare, in fact, that these kids had probably never seen any before, and thus were mind-boggled at our appearance.

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My favorite photo from the trip.

Equally mind boggled were we, wending our way through the narrow paths, where cars have never driven and poor farmers sell bags of tef from hand-plowed fields.

Truly, it was…a revelation. It throws into sharp relief the comforts that we enjoy as Westerners, and makes my heart ache for those whose situations I cannot help.

Still, we enjoyed walking though the market, though my favorite moment had to be near the end. We’d been there probably ten minutes, and were heading back to our car, with about fifteen children surrounding us on every side. I did my best to be as nice as possible, since I know not a single word of their language, but right there, at the end, with kids all around, Harrison turned around and leapt at them, rawring fiercely.

The kids shrieked, stumbled back, and then fell over laughing once they realized he was kidding. I was already dying with laughter, and it made a really great ending to a really cool experience.

Though sometimes I wonder if they really knew he was kidding. Do they maybe sit at home and talk about that crazy foreigner who attacks small children? The world will never know.

Anyway, shortly after our stop at the market, we arrived at the lake, whose pictures I will allow to tell the story:

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I would also like to note that they forced me to ride a horse on both the way down and up. Not that I wanted to hike it, but I have no idea how to ride horses and ended up with bruises for a week. My life is so hard.

The day was excellent overall, though it did start raining halfway back up the mountain to the car, so we got a little bit damp. Luckily, we had on raincoats, so the damage wasn’t too bad.

Next up is the Debanos Monastery, Portuguese Bridge, and Blue Nile Gorge. Stay tuned!

-Carissa “The Foreigner” Rawson

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