THE EXCURSION TO THE NILE
We start from Bichena with completely overcrowded bus along dusty road full of washes-out somewhere between the fields. The local advisers say that the bus stops in a village, where the Nile is flowing, We trust them foolish, anyway, we are very surprised that we find ourselves in the middle of mountains , and no trace of Nile found at all. We are immediately surrounded by crowd of aborigines, mostly men and children. Hurrah, one man speaks English! He leads us to a well , where we add the water and continue in our way leading probably to the river. At least half inhabitants of a village are forming our escort , assuring us in a fact that we never remain alone in Ethiopia. The way is dusty and heated, the air cannot be nearly respired , we begin to find out that no salt but water is beyond gold. When we stop, in order to take down our 20 kgs knapsacks and have a rest, the crowd of our grateful guides stops as well and follows our every movement.
Our effort to escape from this siege is useless. The descent across gravel with overloaded knapsacks and aborigines, being behind our back , seems to be dangerous. We are tired , the evening is coming. Lucas saves us. He found in hard terrain on one of rocky terraces an amazing place for a tent. We have built a tent and prepare a dinner , being surrounded by 98 people , watching our movements. They refuse to leave us, so I am very nervous and take shelter in a tent. Lucas has similar problem, he tries to solve it crying and requesting to go away. Our effort is useless. Michael is calm for long time.He lost his patience in a moment when, going to WC with toilet paper, was accompanied on his way by 10 persons at least .
We prefer to go to bed.
In the morning the aborigines wake us , they do not sleep at all. They have fun from the fact how we clean our teeth , how we eat, so we pack our luggage quickly and run away.
We ask them where to go to the Nile – all show us the way up to the hills – it is against common sense - but we follow this direction. The experienced highlander Lucas does not agree at all , so the first disputes arose. In a village on the highest hill we loose the water and a patience as well. Nevertheless, there is a wunderful view here and chaotic movement of all-comprising market is turning us to a fine humour.. The market transfers to the further village every day. Now, we understood ,.why we were accompanied by full loaded donkeys and women with big baskets on their back . Shouting, bargain, tilts with goods. I do not resist and buy local painting. A young boy sides with us , accompanying us to the well. We take a crawed-for water – in spite of small confusions , caused by the fact that the well was closed – and continue our way ahead. Now, we have good direction , we go down. Heat, gravel, .fall of stones - I live over again all my nightmare during a day. Michal collapses of effort several times , he is overheated, has a lack of water and intestines trouble. He would keep a diet .
We are going through villages , not visited by a white men up to now. We are a big attraction especially for children The terrain is more impenetrable but Lucas holds the right direction . The evening is arriving, it is obvious, that we do not reach the Nile today. We build a tent near to one village Immediately, when we finished our dinner, some local men are coming to ask us where we go and why we pass their village. We come to an understanding with them by means of gestures and we are quite successfull. It is an amazing event. We go to bed in our sleeping bags completely tired , it has no sence to lay down ( we had not washed for three days), Lucas obtained fleas, we sleep after a short while.
In the morning a local man brings us a breakfast – a bowl full of injara – these are pancakes having a look of dirty rag and taste as bad rinsed beer pipes. On requital, they receive a rice from us..
The lesson of gesture speech is repeating. Michael teaches them to joggle and has a big success. We say bye-bye to them and hope that we reach the river soon. However, we loose a way after an hour´s walk. We squeeze our way through thorny bushes, climb across the rocks and fall through sorrowfulness. We see the Nile all the time but it is impossible to descend.
Finally, it is a wander, we stay, scratched , tired and with the last mouthful of water, on a bank of the river. Our joy is not limited by traces of crocodiles on a bank. We throw the Nile, wash and waste of water with delight, relax and prepare the lunch. We try to fish in the course of the whole day, but, unfortunately, the fish carries away the silon , so we have to eat a mash again.
The evening is coming, the moon in the full is appearing on the sky and hundreds of stars as well. We are sitting on a beach near to the fire and live through something unreal – we are in the middle of Africa , a wilderness surrounds us and we are absolutely alone here. However, we miss our kayak-men, we think over, what they live , in the centre of rocks, with minimum of objects and without us. We feel anxious about the return to civilization and to the two-kilometres surpassing , waiting for us tomorrow. Michael is in bad condition yet and Lucas has bloody abscesses on his legs. So, to bed immediately, in order to asleep well.
We try to get going our painful and stiff muscles, we add our water stock and continue in our trip.This climbing kills us probably, we loose the way several times, but we follow the right direction. When we reach the villages, we take with Lucas the depression again – from children following us - we hear: „Give me shoes, give me money, give me something!“
Only Michael is armoured against these attacks. And again, heat and a lack of water , we are in crises all, successivelly. Michael is, totally exhausted, so we build a tent in the afternoon , eating dry meat, as for cooking we do not have enough water available , and hide into a tent protecting from the aborigines. In spite of the fact that we are exhausted and cannot sleep at all, the morning is a big release for us. We quickly drink a protein beverage and leave.
A young man is accompanying us in the morning , inviting us to his parents for a lunch. We accept with thanks and so follows a lot of nice events.
The boys play football and tennis with children. I am surrounded by women , they have fun from my piercing , touching my hair , all things of my knapsack interest them, they are talking all the time, laughing. We watch how skilly they prepare a meal, and we eat together injara with eggs, shiro and sour milk. All wish to be photographed and filmed , they are very friendly and direct. We are not pleased that we have to leave them , but it is nothing to do.
Our young guide has the same way-direction as we have, he is studying in Bichema. We find the shortest way to the bus station thanks to him. The climbing is always more difficult and we feel more tired , but when we see a bus staying in a village, we are extremely happy.
Michael makes a thanksful speech to the Ethiopian Nation and we order in a local pub the deserved beer. We enter the bus, three persons are sitting on my knees , my head turning off in front of elbows of those persones staying around and I feel marvelous. Our excursion to the Nile terminates. We have overcome.
Text/foto: the expedition
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