According to his mother Bizunesh, Alemayehu was born “nine months after the Italians left,” which on best accounts probably refers to the World War II Peace Treaty, signed in February 1947. Together with two sisters and a cow, they lived in a small, straw hut—without water or electricity—in a land known as the “forgotten place” […]

My first attempt was by accident. I prepared steak with bearnaise for a small crowd of new friends and played the soundtrack to the 2005 indie film, Broken Flowers, for its eclectic, syncopated sounds. It sounded like this: My Ethiopian guests were impressed with my appreciation for Ethiopian jazz! Mulatu Astatke is generally regarded as […]

Keeping up with Dr. Abiy Ahmed, is exhausting. Since emerging as Ethiopia’s new prime minister in April, he has ushered in dramatically democratic policy changes almost daily. His energy has awoken the nation. For the first time in a long time we finally got a glimpse of a united Ethiopia. An estimated 4 million citizens […]

The “hate” part of my love-hate relationship with Ethiopia began in fervor in August 2016. I was in New Jersey on business from my home location in Houston when I learned that my uncle had lost his seven years’ battle with kidney cancer. I re-routed my trip to Dallas to join my family as my […]

They did not change the date. We did. Today across Orthodox traditions worldwide, Christians are celebrating Christmas –including Ethiopians. These churches continue to follow the Julian calendar, while the rest of us out west switched to the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century.1 It is not a celebration of the Epiphany. While the 12 days […]

One good thing about being forced to eat liver and onions as a child is that one gains a tolerance, and a bit of a craving for unusual food. Although this is not about Ethiopia, I thought I’d share a bit from our recent adventure in Cape Town, South Africa.

While Texan palettes enjoy lightly seared steaks with cool-purple centers, Ethiopian palettes prefer steaks purple all around. Known as tere siga or simply, “raw meat,” this Ethiopian delicacy started the same way as sweetened condensed milk. That is, as a wartime staple for soldiers on the front lines. For Ethiopia, success during the Battle of Adowa depended upon soldiers keeping their […]

Ethiopia largely went “off the grid” following the implementation of King Fasilides’ closed-door policy in the 1620s. The country’s policy, along with the advantage of its geography, helped to isolate it from the conquests of European colonialists. Toward the end of the African scramble, Italy tried to capture what remained. First, an Italian shipping company […]

My high school world history book failed to mention the existence of Ethiopia’s Camelot. Built in the 1600s by King Fasilides, the castles illustrate the country’s historical ties to Western Europe and almost a hundred years of successful foreign relations with Portugal. Those hundred years were overshadowed, however, by the discovery of the New World […]

On the day we hiked to see the waterfall in Bahir Dar, I had been fighting signs of the ferenge1 sickness—the common food-borne illness suffered by foreign visitors. When we awoke the next day, I begged to skip out on our tour of the monastery-filled islands on Lake Tana … but my begging was not […]