One of the most unusual businesses I’ve seen traveling across the world…”
In 2013 I was a volunteer at a well-respected International NGO in their Ethiopian outpost. I traveled the country on behalf of the NGO visiting Refugee Camps and experiencing the great works of this organization, acting as their de facto Entrepreneur-In-Residence during my 6 months in Africa.
In Harar, one of the Easternmost cities in Ethiopia, I chanced upon witnessing first hand a most unique business, in its 2nd generation…feeding a pack of wild hyenas and having your picture taken as a keepsake. This business actually supported an Ethiopian family, sent them all to school and provided a comfortable lifestyle. It was absolutely remarkable and the history of this entrepreneurial endeavor is captured in a draft story that was written for me on the link below.
Well, of course, I had to try it out myself and I found myself driven by one of the taxi drivers out into the wilds surrounding Harar to meet the “Hyena Man” himself. It was in the pitch black as we were instructed to turn off the car lights while a pack of the wild beasts slowly crept into the area….only seen by their yellow eyes at first.
My taxi driver translated as the “Hyena Man” described what would then happen. He would prepare a piece of raw meat on a stick and I would offer it to one of the hyenas circling around us. My taxi driver would snap a picture of the event, we’d pay the “Hyena Man” and I’d be memorialized by the photo of this most unusual activity.
Of course, after the initial shock of the experience, my entrepreneurial mind kicked into gear and I couldn’t help myself but capitalize on this opportunity…which is captured in the story above.
The power of entrepreneurship around the world is a true testament of the ingenuity of mankind around the world and I am so honored to be part of it.
Peter J. Burns, III is the “ExPatrepreneur” and his adventures in capitalism over the last 4 decades can be seen at www.peterjburns3.com