Today, rocks thrown at me. Three teen boys with a lot of cheek. First rock smacks me in the back of my shoulder. I yell profanities in the direction of the rock-throwers and continue on. Second rock, third rock, more come. Before I know it, fuelled with anger I am chasing boys down the narrow cobbled streets of Harar. I never run, but today I found my feet. Flip-flops, camera gear, rocky uneven ground - all a recipe for disaster for the accident-prone (me), but my blood is boiling, my focus is on the boys.
The fleeing boys pass a man further down the street. He sees me coming and I yell 'The boys throw rocks'. I don't know how he understood, but he starts chasing the boys and I chase him. The pursuit continues over many streets, but the boys are too fast and disappear into the labyrinth of the old city. We stop in a clearing, out-of-breath I thank the man, but the minute I sit on the side of the road, tears start flowing. Unbelievable, I can't stop them. I feel like a child wiping my wet face with my sleeve. The man looks at me helplessly, pleading with me 'Don't crying'.
I am making a scene. Locals are gathering and talking and I'm still crying. It's so embarrassing. It takes time to compose myself and I sit in disbelief at my reactions.
Moments later another man appears dragging the three boys to where I am. Once I identify them, the rock-throwing boy immediately cops a clobbering. I intervene before it gets serious. The now-sobbing boy apologises. I tell him off, pick up his school books that are scattered on the road and he goes to school.