Ethiopia: Getachew Assefa's T shirt is being sold in Mekele town
There is much to love about Mesrake, an-hour-and-a-half outside of the capital Addis Ababa. Unlike the capital where farmers have been pushed to make ways for construction projects and that helped change its narratives, this unique place has stayed the same and kept its old-self untouched.
Not far from the famous Debre Libanos monastery, it is a village of noted hardworking farmers who have created comfortable lives for themselves, supplying for the thousands of inhabitants who depend on their production on a daily basis. More importantly, many ship to the capital, bringing them instant wealth that was rare in the area.
The nearest paved road is about 30 minutes away, in the town of Debre Tsege. The nearest store is about a half an hour walk and anything that resembles a public restaurant is a mud hut, where traditional alcohol, “Katikala” is sold. Many young people have left this village, looking for the adventure life of the capital, embracing modern lifestyle, while the older generations have called it home for eon.
This is also where Eshetu Tadesse has made a living for himself. He raised his children here, sending one to medical school and another to secondary school. He has buried his legendary father two decades ago and has experienced the entire milestone that comes with being a man.
The 53-year-old, who looks much older than his middle age, knows the area well and he had farmed here for more than half of his life. But that legacy of his abruptly ended a decade ago when he was forced to sell his cows and ended up doing dead-end jobs at nearby construction site projects. That was not the life he had envisioned for himself and he longed for a chance to continue the legacy of his family.
“I grew up as a farmer. Even long before I could walk, my father took me to his farm and I learned its skills early on. That is all I know how to do and everything I do, is to help me become an even efficient farmer,” he said.
For long, that was the dream he felt he would never realize, as old age was about to consume his energy to ever emulate his old life, his old-self. Eshetu had wanted to own cows, and become a raw milk provider to the growing demands coming from noted companies, coming from nearby towns.
“I am a farmer at heart. I have the skills, the know-how and the passion for it. I have regretted for many years, I was no longer able to do that,” he told The Reporter. “But now, I do not have to labor for cheap for others, be it in a dangerous construction site so that I can feed myself, but I can be a business owner, take care of my livestock and become the person I have always know I could become.”