I can hear the Ethiopian sirens echoing in the distance. Tunes of Ethio-Jazz are getting more and more insistent.
The second part of my Love story with Africa is about to start again…
“Africa is difficult because nothing is never certain. But yet the beauty is that nothing is impossible” (M.T.)
I left you roughly a year ago. Back then, I had just returned from Ethiopia where I had the chance to shoot a reportage on Direct Coffee and to follow Michael Tuil, co-founder of the social venture, during is 3+ weeks field visit (more on the initial context here).
But as a small recap, coffee harvest time lasts 5-6 weeks in Ethiopia (Nov-Dec). This period is intense and there is a lot happening in the Jimma region (Western part of the country) where most of the plantations and cooperatives are located. And this is also the time when Michael visits his partners to check the coffee processing, the quality of the cherries, pre-select the new batches and…to implement some of the social projects.
Looking back at the pictures from the first trip (and there were a lot!!), I can only witness how much my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa has changed my perspectives. The continent is like a diamond in the rough. As a foreign-ji, you have to leave your expectations at the front door. I can tell you upfront that you won’t find anything you might be accustomed to.
But if you’re ready to take that step, the continent will first throw all your certainties in the air. Then, when you have emptied your psyche of its bias, it will welcome you with open arms/heart and allow you to gain access to some of the most spontaneous and living people. Only then will you gaze upon some of the most exquisite sunsets on earth and grasp this untouched nature.
You might find yourself in some of the most incongruous situations. But if you are willing to take a step back and to tone down the absurd, then you will have some of the greatest laughters of your life.
All this to tell you that, when my friend asked me to join him for the second edition of the trip, I didn’t hesitate a lot. First it meant that the job/pictures I had delivered a year ago met the expected quality :-)! Secondly, my other project, Cruizador not to name it, being seasonal, it was also a perfect timing. I had just put the platform in hibernation for the Winter.
Additionally, the beginnings of Cruizador were intense and I worked my ass off during the first season. So taking some time away from every day life, in a totally different context, could help me to reflect and realign my own priorities. Cherry on top of the cake, photography is a passion of mine and has helped me over the years to foster my creativity. Creativity that I could eventually harness in other departments. Somebody said trickle down theory :-)?
So what was on the menu this time?
Pretty much the same as last year for the first part (see pictures here), i.e.
- Implementation of one social project (energy break) at Dora Gibe elementary school (Limmu Province);
- Visit of the local farmers at Qottaa cooperative;
- And eco-touring with a (different) group of 6 coffee aficionados.
And last but not least, a gift at the end of the coffee trip. I decided to treat myself with something I was dreaming about for some time. A reward for the laborious yet successful beginnings of my very own venture. But more on this later on ;-)!
But before going any further, I’d like to seize the opportunity to wish you a great year 2019! We have only one life, so make it count!
As the greatest artist Jacques Brel used to say,
“I wish you dreams that never end (…) and the urge to fulfil some of them!”
So now let’s kick-off this 2nd edition with some pictures would we?
Ready…set…click on the thumbnail to start the slideshow.
Thanks for watching/reading/commenting/sharing, etc. I appreciate you!
P.S. Oh and yes, the soundtrack to put you in the mood: Sami Dan – Hayal