My first Sunday in Addis Ababa provided a small amount of free time for me. I traveled to the Addis Ababa Merkato. The Merkato is an outdoor market that serves the local people as a market. Several of my fellow volunteers and I set out to see the market and what it had to offer.
What an experience. I feel that “What an experience” will be my mantra for quite a while. This market is huge with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people walking around look for items they need to purchase. Addis Ababa is a city of over 3 million people. So hundreds of thousands of people at the market is not a stretch. This Merkato is the biggest open air sprawl of vendors in Africa. The vendors go on for kilometers and weave in and out.
As a part of the visit to the market we were able to go visit Lucy. Who’s Lucy you ask. Lucy is the name given to the collection of fossilized bones that once made up the skeleton of a hominid from the Australopithecus afarensis species. She lived in Ethiopia 3.2 million years ago.
The whole experience was amazing.
The return to the hotel was quite eventful. We got lost. Lost without google maps is a first world problem but is a different problem in a third world country. Having been in Addis Ababas for less than 1 week my command of the language is far less than perfect. Working as a group we managed to get a van, communicate where we needed to go and get back to the hotel. No one panicked but but we have a new respect for maps. The upside of the situation was that we got a ride back to the hotel. Still haven’t decided if 14 people in 1 van costing the equivalent of a dime is good or bad.