After years of working in west and central Africa, I finally traveled to eastern Africa in 2005 to visit Ethiopia, the setting for the story, “Waiting for Solomon.” Most of my trips there were limited to Addis Ababa, a crowded city that delightfully juxtaposes ancient culture with new influences. One moment you see an old man leading a donkey with a heavy burden of sticks; the next moment you drive past a multi-storied modern building with odd angles and reflective windows.
On one of my trips, I had the good fortune to travel outside Addis to Bahir Dar—a wonderland of flowers and birds of every color and shape, ancient monasteries tucked away on tiny islands, and the famous Blue Nile Falls. A week later, sitting at the airport in Addis waiting for my plane to Amsterdam, I watched two Dutch couples with their newly adopted, sleeping Ethiopian babies. The brand new parents looked bewildered and exhausted. But their faces also exuded amazement—probably not unlike the look I’d had on my face days earlier as I’d watched the thundering falls. I knew then that a story was buried somewhere in all that wonder, waiting to be written.
Photos by Susi Wyss