Salambo discovering Ethiopia
I don’t need to mention that Addis Abeba was in the news this weekend with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the African Union, the pan-African organisation based in the Ethiopian capital. Seen from this end, we were advised not to move around the city (and literally stay at home) because of traffic disruptions and road blockades due to the arrival of a number of Heads of State from the five continents. To every one’s surprise, the city was not as chaotic as expected and traffic flowed with relative ease. Some roads may have been closed from time to time, but on the whole it was relatively well organised.
Most of the expats carried on with their life as usual, the current priority being to sell as many items as possible before moving on to a new life in a new country. As I was last year, I was shocked again to see what kind of items people are prepared to sell: kids toys, second hand shoes, puzzles, books, even food, in a country where there is a shortage of many of these things. I still can’t understand why people living a materially comfortable life here cannot give their toys, kids shoes, clothes and so on. What is the benefit of selling toys for less than US$ 5? Even if the proceeds of the sale end up going to charity, what is the benefit of going through minor transactions of the kind when the items could simply be given? This is an aspect I haven’t yet understood of the expat way, and which I find quite shameful. Why not give what we don’t want anymore to the many children who desperately need shoes and clothes, the children who never play with toys because it is a luxury here?