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 […]

I can’t remember when I first learned about the Queen of Sheba’s love affair with King Solomon. In fact, I think I tried to correct my Ethiopian friends, “You mean Samson and Delilah, right?” And besides, why do memories of childhood Sunday-school classes keep resurrecting themselves in the context of Ethiopian emperors? The trouble is […]

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 […]

Chipotle is a pepper, not a restuarant. It is dried and smoked, and frequently used in Mexican cooking. I am a Texas girl, born of Mexican-American roots, and my pantry staples always include cans of chipotle en adobo and ground chipotle spice. (And it is just about the right weather to whip up some fish tacos with […]