Endless caravans of farmers with their goats, cows, sheep and what not were passing by the Queen of Sheba Pool. Some walking with only one animal, others had small herds. To control the goats more easily, many were tied together around one leg, making them to move rather awkwardly. We quickly figured that it must cattle market day and joined the procession.
At one point, some tire-shaped stones leaning on a fence caught our attention. Our curiosity caused a small crowd of women gathering around us. One look at them and the puzzle was solved. Covered with flour from top to toe, they had just had their corn grinded in a nearby building. Everything in there was white, the people, the floor, the puffing machine. Even in Axum, the time for mill stones has come to an end!
Everybody stared at us, two foreigners walking with the cattle. Clueless of where we were we kept walking to what seemed way beyond Axum. It was getting really hot and we had no more water, but since we had come so far we pushed on. Besides, the locals also carried no water, we kept telling ourselves.
Before we finally reached the cattle market, we passed an area under construction. New houses were being built right and left, the bricks produced right in the very street. What a chaos with all the people and animals climbing over the rubble!
Far outside of Axum, finally the cattle market! A large open area, some parts fenced off by a high wall. We were surprised by the little action: no haggling, no bargaining, cattle and men were just standing around, waiting. The only activity came from kids selling ropes to take the animal home. Not even two “Farenjis” over-using their camera received much attention…