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  #1  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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$250 for killing a cow?

Hi I was just reading Lionel Haggard and Jerry Finley's travel blog where they mentioned they drove into a cow in Ethiopia (killling it) and caused damage to one of their bikes. They then paid $250 to the locals as compensation????
I don't know if this is just me but doesn't this sound crazy?
I drove that same road 3 years ago and came across plenty of road kill (never hit anything) but wouldn't even contemplate giving the locals a penny if I had hit something. My understanding of the rules of the road in Ethiopia is that famers are obliged to keep their animals off the roads and it is they are at fault if an accident occurs like the above.
Please correct me if I'm wrong but this idea that the local farmer must be compensated is insane. It leaves many wrong messages - Animals have right of way, differnt rules for tourists, It's open season to rip off tourists, Next biker has a harder time.
It is this type of ilogical thinking will keep Ethiopians in the dark ages.
Kids threw stones at us when we were there because we refused to give them money and pens all because some previous dumb tourists got a kick out of handing free stuff out.
Next thing you know you will hear a story - biker gets beaten for not paying for cow.
And they didn't even get a steak out of it!!!

Rant over..
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  #2  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by Richardq View Post
And they didn't even get a steak out of it!!!
If they paid $250 they should have kept the cow!
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  #3  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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I'm not sure if it qualifies as 'insane' but it does seem 'a bit unreasonable'.

It might be a bit harsh to critisize the bikers who paid up though. You don't know what the situation was like. Maybe there was a risk of it turning ugly?

I agree with you that we should try to retain our 'rights' as it were while on the road though. Allowing exploitation (either way) helps no-one.

Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #4  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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Smile

I agree Richard. For too long tourists and trekkers have corrupted native populations by handing out such trinkets. It makes the tourist feel good, with no thought of the indignity to the receiver. It certainly corrupts children as you can see everywhere. How those people must have laughed to get $250 for a cow. What contempt for the next tourist!

Tourists have been told to give pens to the local teacher, but they dont get the feelgood factor out of this, and dont do it. They have only their own interests at heart, and not the interests of the receivers of trash.

We have encouraged nations of beggars to hound us for cheap trash. This has links to charity and all the problems that causes. Again, the personal feelgood factor is what motivates many charity donors, IMO.

In London, people have been asked by homeless help organisations NOT to give to folk on the street but to give it to an organisation, because giving on the street encourages people to be there.
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  #5  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterfox View Post
if you show no charity for your fellow humans u better stay in the pub, because if u break down , or hurt yourself on the road you deserve to be left there bleeding.
You are not a very good ambassador , in fact you probably should never leave your island
I understand your feeling towards the farmer. However, this accident was no more the bikers fault than it was the guy standing 100 yards up the road, so why should it be the bikers responsibility to pay for the cow? Charity is good, and it would be nice to help out every person we meet in financial difficulty, but taking responsibility for something that isn't your fault is just dumb.

Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #6  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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Lads a think a wee "chill pill " is needed
here....
Relax we dont know the facts...
please
regards
joe
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  #7  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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I don't understand

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
I understand your feeling towards the farmer. However, this accident was no more the bikers fault than it was the guy standing 100 yards up the road, so why should it be the bikers responsibility to pay for the cow? Charity is good, and it would be nice to help out every person we meet in financial difficulty, but taking responsibility for something that isn't your fault is just dumb.

Matt
I don't understand how when you run into a cow it can be said that it was not your fault? I live in cattle country and don't often see cattle so fleet of foot that they can't be avoided by anyone traveling at a reasonable speed.
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  #8  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by waterfox View Post
R: a cow is worth 1 US dollar per kilo, roughly 300kg per cow, that is probably the earnings of a family per year, how can u fence a plot without money, (have you any idea of the cost of fencing???) if you show no charity for your fellow humans u better stay in the pub, because if u break down , or hurt yourself on the road you deserve to be left there bleeding.
You are not a very good ambassador , in fact you probably should never leave your island
I think you are confusing the issue a little bit - I experienced many acts of kindness and generosity on the road and also offered the same in return. I fact I felt it was my duty to help where I could but I there's a big difference between kindness/charity and promoting this idea in in these third world countries that tourists are there to give. I met many travellers like myself fed up with Ethiopians demanding gifts/money/pens etc. Tourists due not travel to be be amabassodor - they go to see and to spend.
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  #9  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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Should have checked...

I have lived in many small agricultural communities in SA, and almost all of them have a town rule that folks MUST contain their animals and if they get onto the road and GET HIT, it is the OWNERS fault. This "killing" a pig or chicken (thank God for ME it has never been a cow!) has happened to me many times, and I only paid the first time before I knew how things work..

We pay for our ignorance!!! Other cultures are not as "disorganized" as it appears to us from outside.... give them a little credit......

An amazing story from our last trip gives a solution on how to keep cows out of the road:

Around the Block 2007 |

SURPRISED ME !!!

Toby (charapa) Around the Block 2007 |
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  #10  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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We actually replaced the hooter for a much louder one in Cairo after a few too many near misses and it worked a charm (sometimes scared the bejesus out of people) in letting the other road users know you were approaching.
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  #11  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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There is a possibility that large amounts of money (relitavely in Ethiopia) could actually encorage farmers to have thier animals "accidentaly" wonder onto the roads? Not a nice thought.
I do believe in trying to make things "right", but it must be kept in perspective or else there is danger of doing more harm than good.
How much could a native buy a cow for in Ethiopia? Only then can one say if this amount was right or wrong.
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  #12  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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There are a few western states in the USA that have "Open Range". If you hit a cow or a horse its youre fault and you pay for it.
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  #13  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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Cows

Not so surprising to me, cows are a form of currency in Ethiopia and are required for many things, including gifting to the brides family when getting married. For many people, they operate in pretty much a cash less society, so if you want to get married, you better have a way of having or coming up with some cows. (Hence the popularity of raiding parties in the south, we didn't realize the common occurrence of such until we ran into a police patrol who pointed out that there was a party of 150 men with AK47's 40 km further up the road that we were riding on. But that's another story.)

The importance of cattle can't be over stated, in the south I had an interesting conversation with a government agricultural official who pointed out that there is a large problem with overgrazing. They insist on owning as many cows as possible and the land base can't support the number of cattle, grazing to the point where they are underfed and stop producing milk. As a result, the owner's family continues to suffer from malnourishment. Very strange from our perspective, but it makes sense to them. Every cow has great value, whether it is thin or not.

The same official warned us that if we did hit a cow, that we could expect and angry mob. One school of thought was to get the hell out of there as soon as possible. He also warned us that in certain areas if a cow was hit and killed and the driver drove off, certain tribes would simply block the road and stop the next vehicle and demand payment from them. When dealing with angry mobs, the logic of the situation and rules of right of way etc. don't hold much sway. And even right of way is mostly a concept for the industrialized world, from a farmers perspective the road is just a smooth trail, the onus is on you to avoid the wandering beasts and people. If an accident happens, the onus is likely on the "perceived rich" westerner who has enough money to actually own a vehicle to prove that he is not at fault at all (difficult) and then to negotiate like heck to make sure that he doesn't get fleeced more than is appropriate.
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  #14  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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Quick Calculation:

Average cow weight in Ethiopia = 160kg
Average market price per kg = 16 Eth Birr/kg
160 x 16 = 2560 Birr
Approximate exchange rate 8.3Birr = 1$
2560 / 8.3 = $308

so cash raised from bikers = $250
cash raised from meat = $308
Total = $558
Hmmmmm.....
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  #15  
Old 28 Mar 2008
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Arrow

Mountainman: spot on.

I recall getting a small scrape from a car in India - entirely the other guy's fault. Nothing serious but any contact shakes you up on a motorcycle. We were almost stationary, so everyone got out to talk - no aggression just talk. Crowd gathers.

The English speakers explained to me how I was to blame. There was unanimous consent on this, even from sympathetic parties. They were aghast and surprised that I could not see this. They thought me a bit of a numskull. "Sir you must realise, if you hadn't come here, this would never have happened".

And that was that. What possible argument can you put against such a position?

It is all a matter of culture, expectation and norms. If you're overlanding, then best leave your homegrown versions of cause, culpability and reason at home.

Examples from western countries are no guide to how roads are used in the rest of the world. In inhabited areas they are a public utility for cow droving, children's games, grain threshing, tomato drying, you name it. Right of way? Just assume you don't have it.

The rich visitor is always at fault. This is taken as read. And if the choice is paying or risking injury, then yes, you pay. Of course you do.

Simon
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