Priest. West Meket, Ethiopia.
This is one of my favourite photos taken when I was community trekking some years ago in the western Meket area of Ethiopia. It gives a sense of the immensity of the mountain ranges there. The tiny ‘hut’ on the edge of the precipice was a small ‘dining’ room. At about 3000 metres above sea level, we huddled around a fire to keep out the chill of the mountain air, while eating a delicious vegetarian dinner.
The trek offered incredible views as we followed the escarpment edge and passed through the communities who hosted us in local guest houses . More than half of the cost of the trek goes to these local communities.
I don’t think I’ll ever lose my wanderlust. It ebbs and flows like the tides on my doorstep here in Western Australia. Sometimes the pull to stay ‘home’ is strong: when the beach beckons, and the outdoor lifestyle is easy, with good food, wines and friendships.
Then there are times when the lure of new shores overwhelms, the draw of old haunts tempt, and the need to leave this remote city to return to the familiar people and places of my formative years is stronger than the urge to stay.
When I was trekking in Ethiopia a few years ago we passed a coptic church in the middle of the countryside on top of the plateau. The priest was walking along the track and stopped to greet us. He was happy for me to take a photo; something I don’t often do as I’m always a little embarrassed to ask. I was so taken by the calm and peace of this man that it was only later when I looked at the photo, that I really saw the beauty of his age etched face and rheumy eyes. I wondered what those eyes had witnessed in his lifetime.