While slowly descending, we realize for the first time how huge Africa must be. We are only going to one of its Countries, Ethiopia, and the view from above is majestic, vast, huge land.
Ethiopia is a mix of cultures and races, their pace of life is gentle, calm, peaceful, the sunlight very intense.
You feel you are in Africa but it’s still not quite 100% Africa. It’s a land that has fought off italian invasions, who has known Portuguese invasions. It is a land that has managed to preserve, over time, its ancient form of Christianity, and you can hear it in the psalmodies quietly and gently sung, almost whispered, from loudspeakers. The music is a lullaby of spiritual devotion and joy.
All the people we have met along the journey are very much switched on, at times fierce and intense but very helpful nevertheless. Hey you are in Africa, not the Western world. We had the feeling that this was not only Africa, but there was also an influence coming from the South of India. Listening to Ethiopian language and people speaking, it reminded us, at times, of the Malayalam language from Kerala, South India. Not one race nor another, but a mix of Africa, India, the Caribbean.
A blissed out state. A feeling of happiness. The joy of feeling alive and the aliveness all around you. An overflow of tranquil and peaceful vibes. Simply put, the Ethiopian herb gets you high and in a very short time and most importantly in a harmonious way, not like today’s polyhybrids which lack of personality, very dull and uninteresting
Some facts now. The height of these plants can reach considerable heights. We have been told up to 4 metres if well taken care of. That means if you plant them in good soil and water them daily. The ones we have seen were about 2 metres tall although had not finished their flowering cycle. The aromas we have caught were a pretty balanced mix of (in no particular order) incense, earth, lemon/citrusy, seasoned wood, spicy/peppery, rose. The harvest happens around the end of October and throughout November and December. It must be said that Ethiopia enjoys an excellent climate. Very sunny and pretty dry, being near the equator, the length of night and day is pretty much the same throughout the year, therefore making it possible to cultivate all year round. The sowing of seeds starts in June. It must be noted that June, July and August correspond to the Ethiopian rainy season. The harvest happens in October and throughout November.
The seeds are sown during the rainy season because water makes it easier to germinate the seeds and also because water is important, especially at the beginning. Also, during the rainy season, the little seedlings have a chance to be watered daily. Farmers defoliate the plants while they are still alive. When they see that the plant is ready to be cut, they water it for the last time and then they wait for 5 days without watering it before cutting it. A technique which is used for curing is to bury the big buds in paper or aluminium foil.
This is the procedure: 1) Cut the plant 2) Dip it in alcohol 3) Wrap it in paper 4) Make hole in the ground, about 20 cm. 5) Put plastic foil or a plastic bag at the bottom of the hole to protect the big long bud (it is called dreadlock) 6) Put the dreadlock in the hole 7) Cover with the soil 8) Leave to cure in the ground for a minimum of 4 to 6 months or cut the plant and cure/wrap the “dreadlock” in paper for 6 months, leaving it to sweat off the water in excess. When we asked for the local name we were told this word: Ashkouti, although it seems it’s not a very common name.
Ethiopia is a plant that is perfect and best enjoyed when going out, doing things. It’s also recommended to try it in a natural surrounding. Basically in Nature or even on your own. It has a mellow yet potent effect that comes in waves and then goes away making you feel very good, happy and alive. It makes you experience very good and positive vibrations. Not a single negative thought will enter your head.
Some useful words to get by while in Ethiopia:
How Much? = Sintnau
Thank you = Amsagnalò
Bread = Indjela (it’s a sort of pancake)
Bean sauce = Shiro
Water = Uha (or Wuha)
Excuse me = Ikrtà
Food = M’ghb
Yes Yes (ok ok) = Esh
How are you ? = Salamnò?
No problem = Chigrella
I like you ? Odshallò
Peace = Salam
Love = Fikr
Seeds = Frè
Coffee = Bunna
Tea = Shy
Come = Nà
Go = Heed
Let’s go = Enheed
Stop it (Enough) = Bekka
The bill = Ihsab
I love you = Afrkshallò