Only after we dried off from our swim did the local boys bother to mention the many diseases Westerners had contracted from swimming in the stagnant waters. They had left that part out when we were still back in Yetebon, a small speck of a town in Southern Ethiopia, a few hours’ drive from the capital city, Addis Ababa. It didn’t come up once during the drive three towns over, as our decades-old pickup truck passed the many shanties and mud homes with thatched roofs. The truck pulled over when the terrain got too rocky to pass, and we got out to begin hiking. The high-altitude sent my travel buddy and me wheezing up the steep incline while our new friends treated the journey like a simple stroll. By the time we summited the hilltop and began tumbling down the inner lip, it would’ve already been too late to bring up the dangers anyways. We were all in. How often does one get to cannonball into an extinct volcano? We plunged and splashed and frolicked and then air-dried in the intense sub-Saharan, summer sun. Fortunately, the memories were the only souvenirs we brought back home with us.
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Cole Brown Writer
Cole Brown is a political commentator and author of the book “Greyboy: Finding Blackness in a White World.”
Victoria Rosselli Illustrator
Victoria Rosselli is a multidisciplinary creative and consultant based in Brooklyn, New York, operating in media. She specializes in art direction and design for brand, film and editorial.