By 7.30 in the morning and after a spartanic breakfast we were on the boat to a monastery which is situated on one of the many islands of Lake Tana.
No woman is allowed on this island which is inhabited by 27 monks. According to the semi fluent English speaking chief monk the church on top of the islands hill was built 1313 AC and since then guarded by generations of monks who made sure no female puts foot on the island. According to chief monk any woman would cause the monks from being disorientated and less loyal to their religion which seems to be of orthodox Greek origin.
Whilst we were not allowed into the round church building we were allowed into a hut which they called their “museum”. There we were shown thick old bibles with both the new and Old Testament being written on pages of goat skin.
Old crowns of chief monks and other religious essentials were properly guarded in this hut for almost 700 years and it was like being set back in time.
Back in town we took our cars to the Nile waterfall which according to the hotel reception was a must see. It took us some 35km out of town through some of the poorest villages we had passed so far.
In one of these villages we had to get the entry tickets before proceeding another 3km to the Nile Water fall car park. We were immediately surrounded by young kids trying to sell us bamboo flutes and scarfs and also offering their services as tour guides. Despite refusing to accept any of their offerings we were accompanied for the next 3km of crossing the valley by foot towards the waterfall. Finding out that Paul and Willy are both German one of the youngsters impressively announced that Bayern Leverkusen is actually his most favourite soccer team and that he wants a T shirt from Michael Ballack.
The South African team members of course were told that Bafana Bafana is the pride of Africa.
The conversation would go something like this:
Mister what is your name?
My name is Willy
Oh Mister Willy this is a very beautiful name – my name is Haishoo
Ok Haishoo this also a nice name.
Now Mr Willy I have a flute which you want to buy from me
Sorry I do not need a flute
Mr Willy I want you to buy this flute for special price
No I really do not want a flute
Mr Willy you see- you take flute home and I stay happy here –for you I give discount
For the next hour this 12 year old Ethiopian entrepreneur did not give up selling his bamboo flute to Willy whilst walking to and from waterfall and Willy who, with maximum patience and anger control ,politely refused ,but every now and then used foul german language to get rid of his frustrations…..
After about 30 minutes’ walk through a little village all arrived at the much praised Nile Waterfall of Bahir Dar. Having seen other waterfalls like the Victoria or Niagara this fall was a non-event but still imposing despite the dirty colour. Lake Tana itself actually also consists of brown dirty water and the team members think that this is due to the heavy rainfall and the current rainy season. June and July apparently account for two thirds of the annual rainfall in Ethiopia.