With love from Shashemene, Æthiopia.
I believe my last update was many months ago, how can I sum up these months in a post when every day is a life time?
When I arrived in Ethiopia with Tom, who was sometimes known as Rosie, I pretty much went straight to Shashemene, stayed a few nights, then a few nights with a family in Wondo Genet where by chance Maugli happened to be wandering along on food mission. The food mission went on ahead while Maugli spent a couple of nights with us. We had just arrived from Cairo, an amazing and crazy city, many beautiful people, with so much to do, inside a heavily Islamic country. A heavily controlled militant government instating it’s occupation of Egypt. A government spending billions on military equipment for the supposed war on terrorists. How this is supposed to represent the rich culture and amazing people throughout the county whom I had met along the way, I don’t know for sure but I did see a lot of fear in people living there. But coming from a place like Egypt and into a place where people are free and happy was a big shock. There are some similarities between the cultures, but the differences are vast. Ethiopia, just like every county in the world, is currently experiencing some political unrest. But also just like everywhere else in the world, the political decisions are made by just a few, the majority of people in Ethiopia are so kind and welcoming. I am yet to travel to the tribes in the South, but what I have seen in rural Ethiopia is still a very close link to the traditional ways. A link that is unfortunately very quickly being lost as a modern form of colonialism is taking place as certain political interests invest in developing Ethiopia into an industrialised nation. This is both scary and exciting at the same time. The first week in this country was spent adjusting, shedding what we collected in Egypt and preparing for an entirely new chapter.
Once we were ready we packed ourselves up and Maugli led us up the hill and around the mountain, into the forest and through the valley between two mountains. Welcome Home! We had arrived to one of the smallest, most raw, most intimate and open rainbow gatherings I had been to. When we arrived the welcome home was also the kitchen, the sacred fire, a communal bedroom and pretty much the only shelter from the rain in the whole area. But things changed very quickly, mainly thanks to Fab and a few others, but as numbers rose to about 15 some work began to happen and we finally one evening ignited the sacred fire, which lasted one night, but was beautiful. It came and went throughout the gathering. This gathering seemed to have a very unique rawness to it, local energies, things seemed to happen quite slowly but smoothly. Very few workshops were offered, but lots of music was being played. The usual traditions were observed but not enforced, it was a very relaxed gathering in terms of following “rainbow guidelines”. A lot of healing was done for all of those who were present and for the land which hosts the small remaining percentage of what used to be a grand forest filled with lions and all sorts of wildlife. A few outside incidents, and much controversy as usual, brought attention to the gathering and the owners of the land, University of Hawassa, Wondo Genet Forestry College, sent security to remove us from the land. There was a fair bit of commotion that morning but considering the circumstances I think the evacuation went very smoothly. It was an interesting experience to be woken up by a security guy carrying a rifle undoing our roof. We rolled around a bit, in and out of sleep as he eventually let down our shelter over the top of us. I wonder if we had left him to it he would have rolled it up and packed our bags for us too? What a nice man. 🙂 We went straight from the gathering into a residence in Wabi Shebele that was big enough to host us all. We paid the owner some money to rent his home for a month. A few solo cleanup missions went back to the gathering spot to make sure it was clean. One could say that spirit was very certain in moving us on. The first gathering I’d been in that didn’t reach any consensus in vision council and didn’t have a closing ceremony. For me I feel this is quite symbolic of the times we are in, it feels like it’s time to integrate all of this rainbow spirit into our day to day lives, not relying on the odd gathering here and there but to live by always sharing with our local family. Time to live the rainbow way, so to speak. Actually in the nature of surrender, as we step through our healing, wouldn’t we also eventually need to let go of the thing that helped us find our way? Once we’ve reached our destination is there any use for the map? Maybe one day.
During our stay in our new residence, we decided to hold vision council, one of the fastest consensus I have seen, one turn around and an invitation was presented for Indonesia on behalf of the Rainbow Fleet, one circle later consensus was reached. There was also a very strong vision held by many of finding land in Ethiopia to inhabit in community. Not long after this half the family decided to head North to visit the source of the Nile. On this trip a dear sister Debbie, at the time was going by the name Sophie, fell ill and with the grace of God departed from this world. I travelled with Debbie for a month in Europe when the caravan joined up with the Jonesberries. We shared some very nice travels and it was a blessing to have seen her for a few days before she left. Truly an angel sent to spread joy and happiness to thousands. I went up to Bahirdar to pay my respects.
Coming back from Bahirdar gave us an opportunity to hitchhike across Ethiopia. We had a long way to go to get back to Wondo Genet, but we weren’t in a hurry. 😃 After a visit to a monastery on the way, I split from the group and I found myself with Melody and Romain. We found ourselves meeting some very interesting people along the way, first we spend a few nights in a town called Kosova, as we were leaving we met a medicine man who was registered as a legal practitioner but also practiced more traditional ceremonies. We were blessed to sit and share with this man and his family in ceremony. We continued along our way, coming across all sorts of interesting organisations, one of which was a private school in Bure called New Vision Academy. When we finally made it back to Wondo Genet the rainbow house lease was finished, a lot of things were taken by local children during moving, but also a lot remained and were stored with a Rasta brother John in Shashemene.
Shashemene really does feel a lot like home for me right now, I don’t know for how much longer, but it’s a nice point to constantly return to. Many really nice Rastafarians live here in their promised land. People in Ethiopia are generally very open and inviting people, if they sense closeness they become quite strong reflections of your inner fears, but if they sense love and peace they are so open to relate. They have no hesitation to invite us into their home for coffee and enjera, call out across the street to call us over and ask questions or to crowd around us on the sidewalk. In our recent “visa mission” to Addis Ababa we experienced a level of interaction like I’ve had nowhere else. We thought we were only going for 2 or 3 days but over a month later we were still there having demons pulled out of me by pastors casting FIRE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT all over me because they thought they saw Lucifer in my eyes.
Addis Ababa is in full blown development mode, the city is already very big, but in a decade or two, if the world economy doesn’t collapse and the current World War doesn’t get worse, could very well become one of the largest and most advanced cities in the world. Even though development in this city is based on the common Western model, if in the very likely situation where the world economy crashes some time soon, I have a feeling Ethiopia won’t feel it much. There are building projects going on in pretty much every block throughout the city. One thing I noticed though, particularly from going barefoot, is that they do not seem to have any form of garbage collection and the streets are incredibly dirty. There is a water disease that has been showing up that they are calling atat, but some people say is cholera. I’m sure that this isn’t the only disease that is present in this city. Dear family, friends and citizens of Addis Ababa, please clean your streets.
The majority of Christians in this country have grown up worshipping a hand drawn picture of Jesus Christ and believing it to be God. Just by walking around bare foot with a beard I get such varied reactions from people. Some people calling out “Yesus Christos”, some people coming up in shock, some people looking at me with such disgrace, others just curious and some suspicious that we are CIA spies or illuminati. I’ve even had people come up and begin worshipping at my feet like they do in the North to the Orthodox priests. It’s a very strange and awkward moment, what else can one do but worship them back. It must be a funny sight to see to anyone watching. And people are watching, taking photos and videos and are talking about these mystical characters who look like Jesus and Mary. I’ve even considered taking the beard off and wearing shoes just to blend in a little, but I would be so uncomfortable it would probably make things worse ha ha. I’ve had someone come up and ask me, “Can you tell me something, or give me a blessing, or something?”, I’ve also had someone threaten to kill me because he thought I was gay and was here to promote homosexuality. I explained that I’m just a traveller with no intention of converting anyone to anything and I’m not gay. He was very understanding. So I still feel safe here, people know when you’re telling the truth, so I find just being honest and peaceful settles any situation.
We spent 2 weeks staying with a Rasta brother, Yidnay in his little studio in the heart of Bole. There are so many things pinned to the wall it was easy to get lost in them and spend hours sitting there talking. Yidnay is a musician, Melody and I are going to spread in his next music video. I’ll share it when it’s out. While we were staying there his wife gave birth to their second daughter. Big congratulations to the family! After this we moved into the home of a family, Adonic, Hana, Angel, Magdas, Konjit and a bunch of cats. If you told me that Adonic and Hana were to be the future King and Queen of Ethiopia I would probably believe you. These guys are doing some amazing things in Ethiopia through their organisation Habesha Weekly. It was a blessing to spend time with all of the people who opened their homes to us, we have nothing but deep gratitude to you all.
Anyway even though I really enjoyed the journey in Addis, right now I’m very happy to be back home in Shashemene. I have a beautiful little home courtesy of a lovely brother here, Masho. There really is family everywhere in the world, I’ve had more than enough confirmation of this while I travel, everywhere I go I meet family, the recognition now is almost instant. My next steps I do not know yet, I’m waiting to find out, but if I were to look at what had been happening, and what is in front of me presently, i would say it’s likely that I will be spending some time in the South scouting for land to live on for a while. There are people ready to take us walking around to find the right land, their just waiting for us. I’m sure the right moment will present itself and into the train I will jump without looking back.
Myself along with many others have been having very similar dreams of a family community on the edge of a forest and the edge of a mountain, living fully sustainably with permaculture, building from and with the surroundings. The whole place a space for healing, open to be utilised by healers from around the world to hold healing retreats. There are many of us here sharing this vision, maybe it’s time for this vision to manifest. Anyway whether it happens here and now or somewhere else another time is not so important. I feel this vision so strong that I know it will happen sooner or later. It will be a beautiful day when this vision is fulfilled, a loving family living in harmony with nature. I do truly believe this is coming for all who have had this vision, in time it will all unfold. In the mean time all we can do is enjoy the ride, see what life has in store for us and accept it with a smile no matter what it is.