During their recent trip to Ethiopia James Griswold and Trudy Jensen experienced a rather unique set of challenges that some have come to expect of the roads in deepest Africa.
“Wherever we drove in Ethiopia, we found ourselves sharing the road with people and animals – cattle, sheep, mules, and goats. Everyone always walked down the middle of the road and drivers would always have to sound their horn rounding the numerous blind curves on the mountainous roads; not for oncoming traffic, but to warn the inevitable group of people or herders with their flocks. We soon noticed that different animals responded in unique ways to a vehicle barreling down upon it, blowing its horn. The locals had an explanation for the different behaviors of these animals. We thought we’d share it with you:
Ethiopia – A Parable
Three animals, a goat, a mule, and a dog, were going on a bus trip. The mule bought a ticket and paid the exact price. The dog bought a ticket, but needed change. And the goat bought a ticket but was short on cash so he promised to pay the rest when he got to his destination. As these things go, the mule reached his destination and got off with no problems. When the goat reached his home, he leapt from the bus and ran away, not paying what he owed. When the dog reached home, he got off the bus, but the driver said he could not make change and drove away.
Now, whenever they walk along a road, the dog runs after the vehicle, trying to get his change. The mule paid the right amount so he’s not inclined to change his path. And the goat runs off to the side of the road, hoping he won’t be noticed and have to pay for the rest of his ticket.
And this is just the way these animals behaved. the mules wouldn’t move and the car would have to drive around them. The goats would run away, and the dogs would chase after the car. The Ethiopians referred to the stubborn mule as the “king of the road.””
Photos provided by James Griswold and Trudy Jensen