Harar was the final city I visited on my trip to Ethiopia. The majority of Ethiopia is orthodox Christian, however, the walled city of Harar is predominantly Muslim and is considered the 4th holiest city in Islam. There are 82 mosques dotted around the city, and even a sign here and there listing them, so you can find them all…just like Pokemon. Sort of.
This sketch is of Ras Tafari’s house which is now a museum housing old coins, jewellery, weapons and ancient books. The museum book restorer kindly showed us into his workshop and gave us an idea of how he restored the old books that came to him. It was a magical experience seeing all of his tools and learning about how he went from being the security guard of the museum to being taught how to restore the old books.
In the corner of the Harar museum shop, I found a woman weaving baskets. They were absolutely gorgeous and on sale, I picked out small green one as a gift for a friend and asked her if she minded if I sketched her. She gave me a warm smile and said of course. I took a photo too, just in case. I was with a small group of people so it is hard to squeeze in time to sketch. I don’t do much people sketching but I was happy with how this one came out and so decided to a double page of people sketches from Harar in my sketchbook.
The next sketch I did was of some kids, this one was from a photo that they made me take of them! They saw me taking some snaps of buildings and called me to them to take pictures of them, I would then show them the photos on my phone (as that’s what my camera was) and they would fall about laughing. They were such gorgeous kids so I couldn’t resist trying to capture their magical energy in a sketch.
The third sketch is of a man working in the coffee house we visited where they harvest the coffee beans and prepare them. We watch the process followed by them bagging the coffee up into bags ready for sale in their shop. Ethiopian coffee is famously where it’s at. So I bought a bag and asked the man if he would not mind posing for a photo with the bag of coffee he had made (and that I subsequently bought). So this sketch was also from a photo as it would have been impossible to sketch him then and there.