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 […]

The news reached us the morning after I posted my last story. Three friends of my brother-in-law had been killed in a highway traffic accident during the prior evening’s rush hour. One friend, his closest, had been injured and was in critical condition. I had met two of the boys in passing on one or […]

As children, my brothers and I were big fans of a cartoon movie about a brachiosaurus—a “long-neck” named Little Foot. In the 1988 film, The Land Before Time, Little Foot and his dinosaur friends spend the bulk of a delightful 69 minutes searching for a land of plenty known as The Great Valley. Here’s a […]

For today’s cultural lesson, I thought I’d share this BBC explanation of Ethiopian’s counting system. To us, it seems bizarre. To our computers, however, it’s ages ahead of its time. Also, if you missed my earlier post, be sure to read: Adjusting to Ethiopian time.  

It has been many months now since I traveled to Ethiopia, and although I kept notes in an old-fashioned Moleskin journal, technology limitations prevented me from sharing that experience with others. So I thought I would share this with you in the typical Ethiopian way … a bit late. In fact, the Ethiopian calendar runs more than […]