POV

Addis by Night

If you want to hear a good story you should listen to this one. I landed in Addis Ababa to shoot a documentary on water wars and tribe exploitation.

by Max Power photos by Alterazioni Video

If you want to hear a good story you should listen to this one. I landed in Addis Ababa to shoot a documentary on water wars and tribe exploitation. I needed clues, which means meet people.

@ Alterazioni Video

@ Alterazioni Video

I wasn’t really aware of how freakishly controlling the government was about image production and circulation of information. Soon it was clear that the situation was
Bad. My journalist visa got cancelled and I had to bribe a vicious officer to be able to keep my equipment. I soon became powerless, broke and unemployed. I got an email from my office in NY and my boss decided to fire me in order to save some bucks.

@Alterazioni Video

@Alterazioni Video

I survived thanks to a kid that didn’t talk much, but was a wise master in his way. His home was a dreamlike castle and, believe it or not, inside was clean and dry.

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@Alterazioni Video

He gave me a room for a couple of days. It looked more like a metal coffin, but it really saved my ass.

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@Alterazioni Vidoe

I soon discovered that my angel was a drug pusher. He was selling balls of natural meth amphetamine empowered with a mix of gasoline and Chat concentrate. They call it “brown ball”. I helped him for a while and was able to get back on my feet and continue with my project.

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@Alterazioni Video

First thing I had to do was to get meet the dwarfs. They are the street bosses of Addis, and if you need some information or you want to illegally reach the dangerous area of south Ethiopia you need to go to Memos and speak with them. Memos is the best club in Addis. It’s the place where everyone who is doing real business in town comes to meet partners and get blown by some hot chick. It’s a tough place, but if you have the guts to come in you are going to find pleasure and good business.

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@Alterazioni Video

In the middle of the dance floor Chinese diplomats and UN soldiers were dancing with sexy and neurotic black panthers. Drinks were strong and the music was shaking your hips even if you didn’t want to. I’ve seen people with one leg dancing smoothly in that chubby hole that is Memos.

I convinced myself that the bartender was not a prostitute; she looked like an African princess, the queen of Sheba or something. I approached her asking for a Moscow mule and she thought I needed a donkey… Not that smart thou, I thought, and decided to aim for an easier drink, ending up with a straight African wiskey. Bad choice! The two dwarfs were charismatic and sweet in some way. They had noble manners and icy eyes. I’m pretty sure they’ve killed someone with their small, mean bare hands.

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@Alterazioni Video

The bartender told me that they took all the teeth from a tourist that laughed at them and they made a collar for their pit bull… I had to kick away a couple of bitches before being able to actually talk to them. I told them that I knew there was this new drug in the street made by a southern tribe that was gaining power in the black market. They gently smiled at me and invited me to their Prive’ for a midnight dinner. I was shitting in my pants, but I decided to follow them, knowing that you can’t refuse a meal invitation in Africa, even if made by two small killers.

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@Alterazioni Video

Food was great a mix of fascist tagliatelle and fresh anjuna. That was my first time since growing my beard that I ate tagliatelle with my bare hands… This is were I met the real boss, a former CIA agent that became the king of the Addis black market. He started by smuggling porn and ended up selling drugs online on Silk Road. His name was Black Mamba.

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@Alterazioni Video

He told me that the new drug was invented by a female warrior that fought communism in the jungle and created an empire after the war. She became a legendary figure and a national hero, but she also started one of the most prolific businesses in Ethiopia after the A Covenant Arch. Black mamba had the chance to meet her before her death and became her successor

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@Alterazioni Video

The drug spread all around Africa and the tribe made millions out of it. He told me that once you try it your brain cells change their DNA structure. You actually become a different person. He told me that the tribes weatherman (the shaman) changed skin color because of the abuse of this drug, but gained incredible powers from it, like the ability to read people minds.

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@Alterazioni Video

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@Alterazioni Video

@Alterazioni Video

@Alterazioni Video

I didn’t believe a word of what he told me and decided to try this shit once and for all. How could I write a piece on it if I didn’t know… Whatever… I had a deep drag of this shit and waited with an ironic smile on my face. Next thing I remember I was tied up like a dead dog in the back of a pick up truck and I wasn’t alone. A sheep was watching me with a questioning look on her face. I couldn’t move so I waited and enjoyed the view. I felt great, even under the circumstances I didn’t worry. I just didin’t remember anything about my life and my mission.

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@Alterazioni Video

@Alterazioni Video

@Alterazioni Video

The earthy road was full of bumps. I nearly broke my neck several times, but the light and the landscape were incredible. I knew it. I was in the south.

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@Alterazioni Video

They left me naked on the top of a hill in the middle of nowhere. It was an incredible experience. For the first time I felt that I actually belonged to this planet. I don’t know if I still was under the effect of this incredible drug, but I didn’t care. I started walking towards the river.

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@Alterazioni Video

The first encounter was scary. A group of young warriors girls pointed an AK-47 at my face and start laughing at me. White and naked with a small cock, they couldn’t stop laughing. I was ready to die, but still kept a peaceful face. I finally had my moment of realization and didn’t care anymore about time and struggling for survival.

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@Alterazioni Video

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@Alterazioni Video

They liked me and decided not to kill me on the spot. The leader of them took her sunglasses off and got a good look at me. I found myself following them in the jungle in a mystical silence.

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@Alterazioni Video

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@Alterazioni Video

I was brought to the village were I met one of the most incredible tribes on the planet. Nothing was as expected. The woman were reading Playboy and commenting on the white chicks breasts and curves.

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@ALterazioni Video

A well-breasted Hammer woman showed me their land. Their incredible brown river full with crocodiles and prehistoric fishes, and the construction sites were they were building new plantations for their growing business.

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@Alterazioni Video

They looked like happy people. Much funnier than the Somali pirates, but still dangerous.

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@Alterazioni Video

Others were shooting a commercial in the middle of the jungle. They had good film equipment and it was clear that they knew what they were doing. I never expected to find a fashion shoot in the middle of the jungle, and I was dazzled by it.
I asked the girls if I could meet the weatherman and ask him about myself. If he was able to read my mind he could probably tell me who I was…

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@Alterazioni Video

When I first met Muda, he was in a meeting with his partners and nearly killed me with his look. I felt I couldn’t breathe any more and had to sit and wait.

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@Alterazioni Video

He then suddenly appeared in front of me like a vision. I was speechless. I followed him in his office with my legs shaking.

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@Alterazioni Video

@Alterazioni Video

@Alterazioni Video

Once we set down, he took an ostrich egg and started making weird sounds for several minutes. I suddenly wasn’t scared any more and I was actually able to understand what he was saying. Something magic was happening. Everything made sense. Bang! The egg hit my forehead with incredible violence, breaking up into pieces.

He started laughing and kicked me out. I then remembered who I was and why I was there. I wasn’t happy about it and had blood on my face. It was like a new birth, but with fifty percent of life already gone. Bad feeling. I left alone and got lost in the desert.

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@Alterazioni Video

My life was back to the shit that it has always been and even the planet seemed to be a unusual place that didn’t like me at all…

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@Alterazioni Video

I will always remember this strange tribe that smuggles dreams and fight the heat while playing music and hunting crocodiles.

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