Reflections on My Recent Visit to Ethiopia (Tibebe Solomon)
It is irresistibly urging feeling to talk about the motherland, especially on return, and I would like to share the feel I and my family had during our stay in Ethiopia in the months of June and July of 2015.
As there are Ethiopian diaspora day event and Oromia diaspora festival taking place in the month of August, my trip to Ethiopia has begun with the surprise of the number of diaspora heading to the country. An airport worker in Dulles international airport has advanced to ask me why many people are going to Ethiopia this year. Even though I could not give him the correct answer, I was rejoiced with the news. I could not wait to step my foot on Bole. My trip this time was personal and did not consider any of the things government was doing at the time.
With the almost completed railways and high rising buildings throughout the city, I have found Addis completely new to my eyes. Many new roundabouts are constructed eliminating traffic congestions. Condominiums, houses, Hotels, restaurants, boutiques, factories, new beers, new music, new cars, extremely busy traffic and so on. I bet you will get lost as in a big city when you visit Addis. Economy is really, literally vibrant.
Hay! When the train starts its full operation and when the streets are arranged for pedestrians and cars, and are cleared from dust; when electric power and water problems are resolved, Addis will catch up with the 20th century cities. Still one more century behind than European and American counter parts. It might take two or more years for the current reformation to complete.
Brand new songs were released from different cultures and regions. Many times, the southern singers have dominated in the country in my previous trips. In this trip, Madingo has dominated. In the Lafto concert, he has enjoyed the night applauses. He was more favored than Haile Roots. “Marmar” and “Swadilate” have become my favorite songs of his Album.
I started driving in Addis the next day I arrived. Many people will agree that one of the corruptions in Addis is the traffic police. No driving person could not encounter it. Traffic officers will stop you to ask for bribes all the time. It was such disgusting that they dare to enter your car to drive away to a safe place where they could not be seen.
On this trip of mine, I was pulled over three time. The first time, I was given a ticket for parking violation. The second and the third time, I was forgiven from moving violations with warning. None of the officers tried to arrange for a bribe. The way traffic officer are paid and controlled has changed. That was one less corruption than my previous trip. That was good change to admire.
I happened to be on “Chemballala” holiday in Awassa when I arrived. There were a few political instability during the holiday in the previous years by people who depended on rumors, assumptions and exert excess challenges on our government. This time, it has been completed fairly peaceful and my family has enjoyed watching the southerners’ dances in the “Chambalalla concert and Awasastreet shows. My wife and me as well as our children have also enjoyed pausing for pictures on the encounter of MarkosFikru, comedia singer who sings “Koralehu! Aroge Chama Yalew?”.
Surfing the city and the country has been very smooth. It did not take us much effort to get to Bahirdar where my family visited “zegai” by sailing on Lake Tana. Our family vacation was excited by dancing “eskista” with the famous kassahunTaye “Alemyasora” singer after a dinner in Bahirda. I have also enjoyed homemade “Dagussa and Gibto” Areqe.
By the way, Bahirdar, like Awasa will soon start competing with Addis if their momentum continues. For now, both cities have more quality streets than Addis.
The country has improved and is continuing to improve without any exaggerations. Many Ethiopians are enjoying the changes as we did in our stay. All internationalconferencesduring my stay have been concluded with no issues. Peace is what I felt in all the regions I stepped on.
Most importantly, EPDRF has become a better government by striving for every day change both in the economy and political sectors. We have a lot to work together and support our people and country for a better place to await for ourselves and the next generations.
As usual, going home has good feelings than coming from home. Sadly, my trip was concluded with a return this time again. The good part is that we are coming back to U.S.A.