Ethiopia: Okhay Painday Lammian Rahwan Ishq Dian

Says a popular Sufi lyric in Punjabi which translates to ‘the roads are long and the journey arduous in the land of love.’

Now I don’t know about love, but it is especially true for any African country. The continent and the countries it is divided into are huge. So huge that the flat maps we are used to cannot represent them in true size (that would, I think, reduce the relative sizes of other places on Earth and that’s surely a problem, so it is Africa that needs to be cut short for the rest of the world—as usual, if I may add.)

Let’s take Ethiopia, for example. Addis Ababa, the capital city is ideally located in the middle of the country to serve as the base for your travel expeditions in the Northern, Eastern, or Southern parts of the country. But even then it takes time to get anywhere. Most bus companies have only one ‘program’ for each destination. The program is to depart before sunrise from Addis Ababa to be able to get to the destination in the afternoon or before the sunset. That’s it. Only one bus a day. Before sunrise. And you spend the whole day traveling. The distances are just that huge. Road conditions don’t help either.

Only the Northern Historical Circuit, one of the primary reasons why people come to Ethiopia, is 2500km of road travel, for instance.

Talk about lammian rahwan.

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