By Mark Jenkin
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – To walk the streets of Addis Ababa at 6am gives a sense of a city coming to life. Before another hectic day has properly started in this emerging metropolis, there is relative calm.
In the Shalla Public park in the Bole Sub City, birds are singing in trees and lush long grass has been freshly watered from the rainy season.
There is still a coolness in the air. Women are sweeping the dusty streets with straw brushes, ensuring the front of their shops and homes are well presented. Stray dogs randomly wander by the roadside, uninterested by the activities around them.
Men, with baggy tracksuit bottoms hanging from their athletic frames are out for their early runs before the traffic reaches a rush-hour crescendo. They are pounding the pavements and working hard against the heavy air that comes in a location nestled beneath the mountains, almost 2,500m above sea level.
Construction workers are getting ready for a day of toil , clambering up the wooden scaffolding of emerging high rise buildings. Lorries pull up alongside the countless building sites. Addis is a place that is expanding fast.
It is unrecognizable from 20 years ago and in another few years its appearance will have changed significantly again.
It is hoped new roads, railway lines and modern hotels will make this a tourist destination attractive to people from across the world. Then there are signs of the old world too, as herds of goats amble by the side of the road tended by their farmers. In numerous homes, maids and mothers have been up early to do the household chores and prepare food for the day.
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