Tag Archives: Oromia

Nations and Nationalities Day

12 Dec

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Last Sunday was the national celebration of diversity in Ethiopia –Nations and Nationalities Day. There are 87 individual languages and as many cultures in Ethiopia. Most of these are tribal languages that you find on the southern border with Kenya where National Geographic worthy communities like the Hammer Tribe live in the Omo Valley.

But even up north in the more homogenous Amhara region, where I live, there a regional differences and a lot of pride. On the west side, Orthodox Christianity reigns supreme, as well as the typical white cotton dresses. Most cities have their own meskel or “cross,” and the Gondar one looks more like a floral diamond.

Lalibela on left, St. George, and Gondar crosses

Lalibela on left, St. George, and Gondar crosses

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The other common costume is a forest green outfit with white buttons for men. Typical of both the Gondar region and south of us in the Gojam region (which surrounds Bahar Dar) these outfits are traditionally the fancy fare of farmers.

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Amhara has been the seat of power, culture, and ecumenical influence for a significant portion of Ethiopian history. Amhara and Tigray (to the North) are seen as more “traditional” Ethiopia, while the south is more tribal. Tigray boasts Axum, said to hold the Arc of the Covenant, while Amhara has both Gondar and Lalibela for historical and religious clout. Natural beauty also abounds – The Simien Mountains, north of Gondar, and the Blue Nile Falls, south of Bahar Dar are breathtaking and unique.

Amhara Flag

Amhara Flag

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Tigray has the rock hewn churchs of Hauzen, the columns of Axum, and a desert like landscape. Oromia, the largest region in the center and the political rival for the last century, has the lush Awash National park, Wenchi crater, and a lot more beads on their clothing. The South has the Bale Mountains (featured in BBC’s Life), and the most cultural diversity of the regions. Apparently the shakala tibs (charred meat dish) are best down here too.  Afar and Somali regions are majority Muslim, nomadic and have landscape as tough as the lifestyle. Somalia just had a polio outbreak, and I randomly met up the CDC team as they prepared to head out that way… shmerrr. In Afar, the Danakil Depression is the hottest point on earth with lava literally bubbling out of the ground. We can’t visit it as volunteers, but it’s definitely on my list for afterwards!

Muslim student carrying the Ethiopian Flag

Muslim student carrying the Ethiopian Flag

Addis Ababa, Dire Dowa, and  Harar boast their own city principalities, and per my previous post, Harar has an interesting and unique twist to its history.

Other regions in our “no-go zone” include Gambella and BG, on the border of Sudan and South Sudan. I don’t know much about them, besides the refugee camps, but I heard they have giraffes! There is definitely an elephant sanctuary out by Jijiga in the East.

So there’s a quick and dirty run down of the some of the cultural and natural diversity in Ethiopia in honor of Nations and Nationalities Day.

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Favorite Photos Quarter 1

1 Feb

 

Here are some of my favorite photos from the first four months in Ethiopia. (Whoa! 4 months already!) Some are great photographs, others are great for the stories behind them. I’ll try to round up the best of the best from my collections and other volunteers every quarter or so. 3 Cups of Buna

Security and Beauty, Debre Birhan, Amhara

Security and Beauty, Debre Birhan, Amhara

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Life's work, Addis Ababa

Life’s work, Addis Ababa

Biofarm, Assela, Oromia

Biofarm, Assela, Oromia

A helping hand

A helping hand

St. Gebre's Church, Dessie, Amhara

St. Gebre’s Church, Dessie, Amhara

Peace Corps Goal 3

Peace Corps Goal 3

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Ethiopia in a picture, it works, but not at right angles

Ethiopia in a picture, it works, but not at right angles

Sunrise over Iteya

Sunrise over Iteya

Host Family love

Host Family love

Swearing in, boy band style

Swearing in, boy band style

nooks and crannies

nooks and crannies

Ambling

Ambling

Harvest Season

Harvest Season

Gondar Skyline

Gondar Skyline

Roasting coffee beans

Roasting coffee beans

Chiz- "incense"

Chiz- “incense”

Making Burbere - Credit: Morgan Davison

Making Burbere – Credit: Morgan Davison

Slacklining across generations - Credit: Morgan Davison

Slacklining across generations – Credit: Morgan Davison

Helping Mom - Credit: Morgan Davison

Helping Mom – Credit: Morgan Davison

Bizu Camels - Credit: Morgan Davison

Bizu Camels – Credit: Morgan Davison

Lady and Boy - Credit: Morgan Davison

Lady and Boy – Credit: Morgan Davison

Monkey Hand - Credit: Forrest Copeland

Monkey Hand – Credit: Forrest Copeland

Credit: Forrest Copeland

Credit: Forrest Copeland

Biofarm, Assela, Oromia - Credit: Forrest Copeland

Biofarm, Assela, Oromia – Credit: Forrest Copeland

G8 Placements - Credit: Forrest Copeland

G8 Placements – Credit: Forrest Copeland

The Snoring Chicken! - Credit: Forrest Copeland

The Snoring Chicken! – Credit: Forrest Copeland

A Sunday Gari Ride - Credit: Forrest Copeland

A Sunday Gari Ride – Credit: Forrest Copeland

Prayer by candlelight - Timket, Gondar

Prayer by candlelight – Timket, Gondar

Fasilides Bath

Fasilides Bath

Holy Water

Holy Water

Timket Pools

Timket Pools

Arc Parade Float

Arc Parade Float

Mother and boy watching Timket parade

Mother and boy watching Timket parade

Old Woman and Gojam boys

Old Woman and Gojam boys

And for those of you without facebook (I’m looking at you Jessica!) here’s a link to some more photos I’ve taken:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152238195750523.932106.640805522&type=1&l=b542fc88bd

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