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  • How a trip to Ethiopia shattered stereotypes, spurred documentary

    Amen Gibreab, right, the director of a documentary about Ethiopia, sits next to Fanaye Debalke at Gojo Ethiopian Restaurant in Seattle. (Alex Stonehill/The Seattle Globalist)

    Traveling to Ethiopia changed me forever. In the two months I worked there in 2008, I met a proud country that had fought off Italian colonialists, a diverse nation that communicates in more than 80 languages and a complex people who challenged my assumptions and helped shape how I see the world today.

    But that wasn’t what I was expecting. I grew up in the 1980s and ’90s, decades that saw famine and political unrest in Ethiopia, as well as growth to our region’s significant Ethiopian-American population. For me, Ethiopia was a country that evoked images of starving children, refugees and war.

    And I’m not alone. Many Americans think in broad, and often grim, generalizations about Ethiopia specifically and Africa overall. One local Ethiopian-American filmmaker and a small group of college students are hoping to challenge those stereotypes.

    “Some students … all they knew of Africa was famine, terrorism, a lion and a tree,” says 25-year-old Amen Gibreab over strong cups of Ethiopian coffee at Gojo — an incense-saturated restaurant tucked into a strip mall in North Seattle.

    Read the full story on the seattletimes website.

     

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  • Ethiopia's Timket Festival - CCTV VIDEO

    Ethiopian Christians are celebrating the Ethiopian Orthodox Epiphany. This is a three-day occasion that marks the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River. CCTV's Susan Mwongeli reports...

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  • Word of Mouth: Addis Ababa

    Addis Ababa is a capital on the up-and-up. As the gateway to the rest of Ethiopia and its beguiling landscape, Addis is a city of almost constant sunshine and, in recent years, construction dust. Countless hotels, a light rail system and other developments are in the works, but the city's charm is more than sufficient enough to make up for any byproduct of its rapid modernization. Still devoid of global sameness, the shifting metropolis is one to visit soon, while you can take it its unique food, world-class coffee, gorgeous handicrafts and enchanting culture.

    Read more at the coolhunting website

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  • Christmas in Ethiopia: it comes but twice a year

    If western-style December hijinks aren’t enough, why not head for the Ethiopian highlands and join the country’s January Christmas celebrations – and take in a trekking holiday while you’re at it.

    Before dawn, our guide Sefiwe was waiting for our little group to gather. In the darkness, we joined the flocks of white-robed pilgrims and made our way towards the rock-hewn church of Bet Maryam (House of Mary).

    It was very early morning on 7 January: Christmas Day for the Ethiopian Orthodox church. We were in Lalibela, the town in the northern highlands that Ethiopian Christians consider their Jerusalem.

    A world heritage site, the Churches of Lalibela – 13 in all – were carved out of rock in the 12th century after King Lalibela had a vision – quite a common occurrence in Ethiopian history. They are cut vertically downwards, so when we stood outside St Mary’s, the candles held by the milling worshippers illuminated a sheer facing cliff eight metres high.

    All around us pilgrims were chanting. Just before 7am, in the day’s first light, a procession of 400 priests, including the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox church in his magnificent hat, progressed to the cliff-top above us. They stood in their white turbans, holding coloured shawls, shaking sistrums (a sort of musical rattle), swaying in unison and chanting to the sounds of slow drums and horns. And the congregation burst out ululating and clapping for joy.

    Read the rest at theguardian website

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