Upon arrival to Gondar in Northern Ethiopia we met Yohanne’s, a “self-trained” guide that makes a living suggesting hotels and guiding you on activities around town, despite the fact that there is less to do and everything seems straight forward. Ideally, he wants to marry an old white woman to become “rich” (and then divorce her, of course, in not much longer than 1 year), but as for now, he still needs to pay for his own bills. If you’d like to apply to be Yohanne’s wife, please watch the video below for full details!
We hired Yohannes to guide us to Gorgora on a day trip. The three of us took a bus at dawn and we reached Gorgora 3 hours and many holes on the ground later. Gorgora is a small village by Lake Tana, which on the other hand is huge! It has about 1500 people and a few monasteries. We visited one of them and, luckily, there was a wedding going on at the same time.
Apart from checking out this religious site, we sat by Lake Tana and laughed with some kids that were literally ROTFLMAOing (rolling on the floor laughing my – their- ass(es) off).
Watch this video and you will see
what having pure fun really means:
The moment we came out of the bus upon arrival to the village, we could hear in the background “I wanna make love right nah nah now“. Akon in the middle of this remote place? How surreal, and how extremely funny!
That good and relaxed feeling remained for the rest of our day in Gorgora. You could tell people were friendly, would smile and go about their lives, but no one would approach you to ask for anything. That’s such a great thing. As a tourist, I would want to affect the place I am visiting as little as possible. Ideally, I would want to observe but without affecting what people are doing and their way of life. And that is way I am not so sure I’d feel good visiting the tribes of the south. The Omo Valley tribes in the south of Ethiopia are one of the biggest tourist attractions of the country, as they are some of the best preserved and “authentic” tribal groups around the world. It obviously sounds attractive to be able to see and interact with such different ways of life, but how fair is it for us to go, interfere, have our fun, and then go?
I already had mixed feelings when 2 years ago we visited a Masai Village in Kenya. These people charge you when you visit them, charge you to take photos, etc… and start basing their existence on money, when their traditional life style (that same one they are “selling” to tourists) wouldn’t require cash to begin with. I really feel that certain kinds of tourism (at least mass tourism, all year long) is raping these traditional life-styles and will eventually ruin them. It is true that no one is paying the tribes against their will, it’s all in mutual agreement. Still, maybe, they are not aware (yet) of how money will eventually end up corrupting their societies. WORTH IT?…