the BIGGER picture


Just a glimspe. Susan's Perspective.

The Chief

Last weekend, thanks to my adventurous friend Melissa, a group of us had the privilege of meeting a real Chief from *****.  For obvious reasons, his identity and country of origin shall remain anonymous.  I don’t want to just “disappear” you know.  Anyhow, he was the real deal – the epitome of all African Chiefs.   

 As I entered the open and airy layout of a local Central African joint near the African Union, The Melting Pot, my gaze immediately fell on this man laughing freely and lounging comfortably with his assistant in the corner.  You could tell he had one too many beers in his lifetime.  His beer belly was tremendous, and it seemed like it was literally popping out of his brown-floral-one-pocket-buttoned-up-short-sleeve shirt.  His sheer mass was intimidating and how he rightfully sank into his chair was reminiscent to what Kings and Emperors would do.  But what screamed “I am an almighty Chief” the most was his uber retro gold-rimmed-brown-tinted sunglasses.  Man, you can’t get anymore Hollywood than that.

 After sitting down with him for a short while, I was pleasantly surprised by his seemingly genuine charm.  Perhaps it was his unique and robust laugh, his confident handshake, his timely smile, or maybe it was his eerie humour.  I don’t know what it was, but undoubtedly this man was a leader and someone to be reckoned with.   He just had the X-factor.

 Almost immediately, the Chief attempted to use his humour to test the waters.  We were a group of 3 ladies sitting before him, and I guess he just couldn’t resist the temptation of adding to his collection of wives.  He told us he had 23 children and a number of wives.  For some reason, he didn’t want to explicitly state how many wives he had, but I guess that’s just a minor detail.  You can’t put a number on love!  He offered us land and lakes with a lot of “poisson”.  He assured us that as his wife/woman/possession, he would take care of us because it was our right.  Our future children would receive the best education and inherit his diplomat status.  Wow, some offer eh?!  lol We laughed it off, but we knew if at any point we wanted to accept his offer, we’d be immediately living like Queens, or so it seemed.  Ah, yay?!  I mean woopee! 

 Our conversations primarily revolved around sex. I’ll spare you the details.  If we attempted to have a serious political conversation, it would always somehow have a sexual connotation here and there.  My friend who was sitting beside the Chief really took the brunt of things.  Because she was sitting beside him, he made her pour beer and light his cigarette for him.  Oh, and when she used her left-hand instead of her right, he tapped her hand to make sure she used the “proper” hand. His wives’ must be living a “great” life.

 The Chief was an example of a classic diplomat’s mentality.  Although he rules a village, and is use to more traditional and nomadic ways, his way of imposing favours on us was exactly the same as how diplomats in Addis work, well at least the diplomats I have met thus far.  They could be the most cultured, educated, powerful and generous men, but they always try to impose their favours on you.  Why?  Well, if you accept the favour, they assume  you’ll be obligated to return the favour in “other” ways and be at their beckon call.  A diplomat’s scheme to make themselves feel important, superior and needed.  A bunch of hypocrites and creeps.  In case they haven’t realized, there are strong and independent women in this world who would rather take the longer route than compromise themselves for a short-cut.

 Anyhow, in the end we escaped unscathed.  We managed to laugh our way through the afternoon without disrespecting the Chief.  I wasn’t able to take photos because if I had, I probably wouldn’t be here typing away.  Some adventure.  Almost forgot, there were 2 huge men sitting at the adjacent table the whole time.  Later, I was informed that they were spies from ******. 

 Now that was an adventure.

 P.S. I really appreciate everyone’s prayers. Thank You!  The following photographs were from my office, and my first stint as a photojournalist.  They were taken at the 2007 TOYOTA Great Ethiopian Run – the largest road race in Africa (30 000+ participants).


Ethiopian Children at ANPPCAN by Susan Wong

2007 Great Ethiopian Run by Susan Wong2007 Great Ethiopian Run by Susan Wong

2007 Great Ethiopian Run by Susan Wong2007 Great Ethiopian Run by Susan Wong

2007 Great Ethiopian Run by Susan Wong

2007 Great Ethiopian Run by Susan Wong

2007 Great Ethiopian Run by Susan Wong

2007 Great Ethiopian Run by Susan Wong

2007 Great Ethiopian Run by Susan Wong


Filed under: Africa, Ethiopia, Life, Photography, Thoughts, Travel, , , , , , , , ,

Through My Eyes


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