Growing Up in the Mountains


Watching over the herd

Watching over the herd

…This, my second trip to Ethiopia for Human Planet was my most memorable experience thus far.  The simple reason for this was the lovely people we met there.  Our time was spent with a family in a very remote settlement, a long way from the nearest road, high in the mountains.  For the most part the children of the family became our guides and allies in this harsh terrain and it was their story that we ended up telling.

One of them was a 5 year old girl called Maza.


Maza had three things she could call her own.  Her blue dress, her necklace made from white string, and her green shawl that she slept under at night.  Her days were spent looking after her little sister and herding the family’s goats around the mountains.  At sunset, if she was too far from home she would sleep in a cave that she knew with the animals.  I really enjoyed spending time with Maza.  We chatted a lot.  Neither of us understood the other’s words, but we laughed loads.  One day I asked Zablon, our Amharic speaking fixer to ask her what her most favourite thing was that she did during the day.  She said that when she knew the goats were safe, she loved to make toys from the soil.  Sometimes she pretended she was making bread like her mother, and she enjoyed that the most.

I’ve never seen such an infectious smile as that possessed by Maza.  Look out for her in the film.  She’ll be the one skipping along the cliff edges laughing at the film crew.

My hand is more than 30 years older than Maza's

My hand is more than 30 years older than Maza's

. . .

Interested in more stories from Ethiopia?  Try HERE


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