They wear bright shimmering clothes, and, despite their look of pure and perfect exhaustion, they often smile and wave as I pass. (Her name is pronounced Bo-gay.) She is the woman who began the rebellion of Ethiopian women – and at first glance, this is not improbable. When she was born in the early 1950s, she was expected to have the same life as Nurame.She says: "Women were regarded as no better than the cows they milked.Nurame was in her bed when she was woken by an angry mêlée.In her family's hut there were grown men – an incredible number, 10 or more, all in their 30s, all standing over her father, shouting. At night here, where there is no electricity, perfect darkness falls, and everything becomes a shadow-play of barely visible flickers.He makes his living selling pots crafted from the earth by his seven captive-brides and his 25 children. Our ancestors did it, our grandfathers did it, our fathers did it.He is returning from market when I meet him, leaving tracks in the muck. He looks to the other men and smirks a little, then looks back at me. My mother was kidnapped by my father." He admits that, yes, his mother sometimes cursed this fact, but that is just proof of her generally lazy and ungrateful nature."I started screaming and tried to run out of the hut," she says. – but one of the men found me." She was taken back to his home, held down in front of his family, raped, and taken to be married the next morning.Dazed, she signed the papers, and waited for a moment when she could flee. I just prayed to God, 'Please help me, please...' I went back. " She is crumpled now, her walk halting, her face creased.
It is part of a system that sees a woman's sexuality as something to be scraped and raped away. Not long after, she ran away to a missionary school – they were amazed she knew the alphabet – and became the first girl in her village to be properly educated.Every woman remembers her wedding day with a tear in her eye – but, here in Ethiopia, the tears are different, and darker, and do not stop.Nurame Abedo is sitting in her hut high in the clouds, remembering the day she became a wife.I Honey, honey "Yes, I kidnapped several of my wives," says the tall, thin market trader, in a bland matter-of-fact tone.
Abebe Anebo is a wiry 45-year-old man, with sunken eyes that are partially concealed in the shade of a grubby white baseball cap.
Ethiopian women have started to refuse to watch their sisters disappear into servitude.