Muzeyen, my guide, came to fetch me for breakfast. We feasted on local bread, a thick tasty triangular slice called Ambasha, scrambled eggs, and metmeti - the local red pepper spice. Perfect bulk for a day long ride. The rain subsided and we headed over to the fields just west of town to fetch our horses. Muzeyen was excited to show me a project he has implemented to deal with some of the water pollution problems in the park. He has taken a grant from a tourist who visited and built a place for women to wash their clothes out of the river. It is like a cement trough using diverted water. He has the system set up so that the water is filtered through natural plants and sand before it reenters the river. This is to cut down on the phosphorus load to the river. There are many problems in the park coming from human encroachment. There are people illegally harvesting bamboo, using the water resources, grazing their animals. The park guides and scouts know about the activity, but there is little that they can do in the face of lack of federal or local governmental support.
|Donkey dragging illegally harvested bamboo.|
I tried out the wooden saddle with a pad over the top, and though I had doubted this would be tolerable, it was more than tolerable and off we went. We set off across the Gaysay Plane, the place I had passed through the day before that had so much wildlife easily visible from the bus windows. Initially we passed many locals on their way to market. This is largely a Muslim area, so the clothing styles are very different from other places I had traveled, like Sodo. I was fascinated. I noticed that men and women wear headwraps and ride on horseback, not seen as much in the Walayta area. Lots of local people were passing by on their way to the Saturday market. It felt invigorating to be out on horseback on such a beautiful blue sky day!
|Mother with child on her back.|
|Local "Buzzard" eating a snake - check it out wrapped around the feet!|