The most beautiful people in Africa! There are many European faces with just darker skin and curly hair. So rich genetic variety for such isolated country as Ethiopia! Gracious bodies and healthy smiles reveal the winners of long and tough natural selection. In Ethiopia are also found the oldest hominids (3.2 million old Lucy). Probably the combination of hospitable climate, dramatic geological processes and beautiful landscape made the monkey a man :-)
Of course, globalization comes fast and everyone wants to take the easy modern life. Eager to learn students, initiative man, freedom driven women who still don't know what bra and bikini are invented for.
HISTORY AND RELIGION
Despite the flooding of soulless science and money cult, the majority of people are still faithful believers. About half are Christians, half Muslims and there are also Rastafarians (Bob Marley was buried in Ethiopia).
Ethiopia is the second oldest Christian state, after Armenia. The first emperors are the descendants of Biblical Queen Sheba and King Solomon. The obelisks in Axum, the rock hewn churches in Lalibela, the numerous temples and monasteries are all roots of strong tradition.
People in Ethiopia think that they are happy because they were never colonized. Indeed the tough mountain terrain protected the country from Arabian and European invasions. Unlike other African countries, Ethiopia has strong tradition of statesmanship and the present results are respected authorities and dedicated transition to market economy and modern life.
PARAGLIDING AND ETHIOPIANS
When people see a paraglider, dozens and even hundreds will run to the landing place. For some it might be religious experience, for others it might be a symbol of progress or just the natural curiosity after thousands of years of isolation.
Unfortunately the demonstration of white people's wealth through media, the duty aid from developed western countries and bad tourism practices create expectations. In many places you'll hear "YOU!", "MONEY!", "PEN!".
The logic is on their side - "You have. They don't. You're on their territory". To avoid disappointments, paragliding pilots should demonstrate that they are different than normal tourists.
Land further away from houses and especially schools! The best is next to the road between the villages.
Don't give them anything! It's impossible to please everyone in the crowd and you'll make it worse for the next paragliding pilot. There are other sustainable ways to help Ethiopia.
Carry your equipment and find your way back yourself! In Ethiopia "help?" means "I want money. What can I do for you?" . You'll get more respect by showing strength and independence.
Avoid making photos or showing expensive possessions! Local traditions forbid a men and a women to demonstrate affection, because this creates temptation, which may lead to crime.
Be patient and positive. Greet everyone you meet. In almost every landing mob, you'll have someone who wants to practice his English. Even if several people ask you the same question, answer them all. Try to make interesting conversation, while walking fast on your way back. At the end, they may still ask for money, but you gave them English lessons, news and ideas from their outside world. Meanwhile you're probably far from their original territory.
Ethiopia is densely populated and you'll have people everywhere. When you tire of them, remember that they killed all these wild animals waiting for you. Be grateful that they build roads and cultivated this hard terrain, which you're enjoying now.