Ethiopia: The old country

Ethiopia: The old country View Gallery
Stele in the northern field at Axum in Ethiopia

A visit to Ethiopia is an experience that combines the overpowering aura of ancient history with the jarringly modern, writes Isabel Conway

The juvenile chain gang raises heavy pickaxes and primitive shovels, digging out stones from the arid ground, piling them up on sacking and torn cardboard that younger children carry away. Thin legs and small feet in jelly sandals and flip-flops stamp up and down to smooth the deeply rutted track to school.

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