Near the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, a barefoot orphan boy gave photographer and journalist Bruce Kirkby the gift of optimism.
Kirkby vividly describes a land washed in green following the rainy season, insects descending in biblical profusion and nerves raw from escaping bandits on mountain passes. In this setting, he and fellow travelers met a timid, very dirty, starving boy named Abush. As the young one warmed up to the fire with food in his stomach, they discovered he had already come 600 kilometers by himself. Abush declared he would visit each of Ethiopia’s 13 provinces by foot. One of Bruce’s fellow travelers, a local man of meager means, offered to take him home. Though grateful, Abush said his destiny was to wander.
Until that is, the day when his dream would come true. He would finish his journey in the capital city of Addis Ababa. There he would shine shoes and save every penny to be able to afford his own tin-roofed hut. He would shine more shoes until he could afford a bed and then more shoes until he could afford a wife.
Abush traveled with the group for a few days, running barefoot over rocky paths and skipping alongside the mules as they descended into the depths of the Blue Nile Gorge.
Check this link for the whole story: more on Abush’s background, how the group separated from him and the impact on Bruce’s life. And, check the streets of Addis for Abush, a young man you would no doubt take a shine to.