Yerer, Ethiopia

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Yerer, Ethiopia

We knew immediately it was a Market Day because we passed a multitude of donkeys bearing burdens. And oxen. And horse-and-buggys. And people. They walk from Yerer to Debre Zeyt for Market Days which is 7 or 8 kilometers! There are three Market Days a week and I love them because it’s like a parade with beasts instead of floats.  The donkeys are adorable–I never tire of seeing them.

Larry, our resident genius, spearheads installing drip system irrigation gardens for several families.  It has been so well-received that instead of three we’ve installed six!  The villagers are anxious to work with us to set the system up. They only have to fill the bucket twice daily for the garden to flourish.

The families are welcoming and often invite us into their home.  The kitchen is usually dominated by the large griddle to make injera, and is separate from where they eat. If they have animals they have a system to dry the dung and stack it for use as fuel.

We visited a mill that grinds the many grains grown in this area.  Mostly tef, for the injera that is eaten at every meal.  But also a random mixture used to ferment beer.  Beer has obvious disadvantages but it kills parasites!

These days are flying by!  So grateful to Engage Now Africa for organizing this trip. I don’t want it to end.

Rhonda Sarantis

Rhonda Sarantis

"She's crazy and loud but she loves you!" That's what they tell my infant granddaughter to prepare her for my visit, so I thought it would be a great way to prepare you. And while I may not always be crazy or loud, one thing is always true: I LOVE people. That's at the heart of my passion for travel. I love getting to know people from different cultures who speak different languages, eat different food, have different ideas and opinions. I'm endlessly curious and make a point of reading about the countries I visit. Instead of saying "that's not how WE do it," I enjoy identifying strengths in diverse cultures, and learning about their way of life. I LOVE road trips! I have great memories of monthlong vacations growing up. Dad always had a van--before they were popular--and invited anybody who wanted to join us. My road trips within the United States will be featured in "The Lower Case Travelogs." Be sure to buckle your seat belt. I execute illegal u-turns if a bakery or estate sale is spotted!

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Debre Zyet, Ethiopia



  • Heather Colt

    So many questions, but I will stick with two. First, what is the smell like when the dung is used as fuel? Second, how does beer kill the pests?

    June 12, 2016 at 6:31 pm
    • Rhonda Sarantis
      Rhonda Sarantis

      Good questions! From a quick Google search it looks like evidence suggesting alcohol kills parasites is fairly recent, mentioned in a Science Daily article:
      I wonder if it was just a “home remedy” before?!?
      Regarding the smell of flaming dung, conversations online indicate it’s bad enough that you might try it once but not twice. And from Wiki: “A disadvantage of using this kind of fuel is increased air pollution.”

      June 12, 2016 at 7:15 pm
  • Amy Bell

    That’s a serious disadvantage! 🙂 What a wonderful trip! I’m missing talking to you!

    June 13, 2016 at 2:38 am
  • Stephanie Mayes

    Intriguing questions Heather, and answers. The pictures and stories are so compelling. For some reason, I thought the drying process eliminated the smells from all those buffalo chip fires the American pioneers used, I guess not so.

    June 15, 2016 at 2:31 am