Diary of a Drug Smuggler (Shashamane, Ethiopia)

For those of you who don’t know, Shashamane is to Rastafari what Mecca is to Islam. The word “Ras” comes from the Amharic word “head” or “duke”, and the word “Tarfari” being the pre-regal name of Emperor Haile Selassie 1 of Ethiopia, said to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ or Jah. The movement may have started in Jamaica in the 30’s, but it’s spirtual heartland was here. We were on a dreadlock holiday, on a diet of reggae and ganja. The city resembled a dusty wasteland, but it proved a worthwhile stop on our way to Nairobi. “You want fire?” could be hear at every street corner. We indulged, and got more than we bargined for.

The morning we were due to leave, we had prearranged to meet a young boy, eager to make a few bucks. Determined not to get ripped off, I got an Ethiopian we befriended to accompany me to the transaction; his name was Ali. We met the boy on the street, carrying a large black sack. The three of us retreated into a discrete wooden shed adjacent to the bus station.

Ali (whipering in my ear): “How much do you want?”

Me: “Whatever 60 Birr ($4.50) will get me..” I figured it would get me about a handful, enough to do the journey to Kenya.

Ali: “No problem, do you have a bag?”

I produced a plastic shopping bag and handed it over. Ali spoke to the boy in Amharic. The boy opened his sack. The smell of fresh, tantalising bud entered my nostrils. Ali took a handful and smiled.

Ali: “Looks Good, eh?”

Me: “Dehna! (good)”

He shoved it in the plastic bag. Then he went for the sack again, this time with both hands. My eyes lit up. He shoved in our bag and kept going – again, and again, and again. I was speechless. The boy just looked on as if it was worthless. Ali squashed the weed to make extra room. It got to the point where the bag was bursting at the seams. Ali looked up and smiled.

Ali: “That’s about a kilo. Is that enough? ”

Me: “Eh… I think so”. Trembling, I struggled to get the bag in my rucksack.

The Boy: “Tip?”. I took out my pocket change.

Ali: “No, give him 20 birr (about $1.50), it’s plenty.”

Rendered dumb, Ali removed the money from my hand and offered the boy his measly commission. He nodded his head and departed, gleefully scampering down the street. Ali and I left the shed and head towards the bus. Danny was on board, waiting in anticipation.

Danny: “How much did he give you? Was 60 enough?”

Still in shock, I couldn’t find the words. I just opened my backpack and let him see for myself. Danny’s jaw descended; his pupils flooded; it was love at first sight. Once he laid eyes on that bag, I knew they would be inseparable. Subsequently, that meant we were about to smuggle a kilo of marijuana into Kenya…

10 Responses to “Diary of a Drug Smuggler (Shashamane, Ethiopia)”

  1. Good luck man… let me know how it goes 😉

  2. Specialforces Says:

    Wow, $6 for a kilo of weed? No wonder AK-47’s trade for $100 and less over there…

    Have you tried chewing Khat in Ethiopia? If so, did you like it?

    Nairobi and Mombasa city guides please!!! 😀

  3. Specialforces Says:

    I asked about Khat because the guy who wrote Black Hawk Down made such a fuss about it in his book. He made it sound like the somalis where completely stoned all the time because of it. And newspaper reports suggested the same. Anyway, your great blog made my mouth water over Africa so I’m gonna be there some day and try it out myself. Or just stick to a cup of strong delicious Ehtiopian coffee. 🙂

    • Did you know coffee originated in Ethiopia? That’s where is come from, it was “discovered” in a town called Caffa. 🙂
      Khat is a load of bollocks. you need to eat a whole tree of the stuff the feel the effects. It really no big deal at all. EVERYONE over there eats it. Africa is the best place in the world! I’m hopefully going back in March with 2 friends. I strongly recommend you take a trip!

      • Specialforces Says:

        Yeah I knew about coffee origins. Nice to hear your point on Khat. Sounds like its some sort of edible tea 😀 Not a drug at all. Will certainly take a trip through Africa some day. But girlwise I’m a bit paranoid about Aids and stuff… even though I always protect myself.

        Have you been to Latin America? You’ll love it. It’s a bit like South East Asia but the chicks are jucier and you have racial variety to choose. Landscapes are breathtaking. Argentina has the best nature. Brazil has the hottest chicks. Colombia is great fun with friendly people. Or try the Guyanas, way off the beaten track.

  4. Susan Otiende Says:

    its sad how the shashamane cannabis crosses the boarders with a 100%profit!for the love of weed prices should go down

  5. i live in ethiopia and when you speak the language you can get 3 kilos for even cheaper! i go to shashamane every weekend….. i sell the weed for over 20 times the price i bought it and every week i make alot of cash…

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