My Witness of Debre-Tabor (Tibebe Solomon)
In the effort to maintain the regional development of the Amhara region, the Ethiopian government has sent its high officials from federal and regional levels. His excellency Kassa Teklebrihan, minister of the federal affairs, and his excellency Gedu Andarge, President of the Amhara region, were among the delegates for the Los Angeles and San Diego congregations. I was proud to be one of the participants in this effort.
In the meeting, the Ethiopian leaders have shown honesty, gracefulness, dedication, humor and fellowship in their report of the Amhara region and the touch-ups of the current issues of the federation. They have brought the smell and feel of “Ager Bet” with them. In the report, the three main developing cities of the Amhara region which are perceived as the pillars of “Kilil Sost” regional state development next to Bahirdar were Debre-Markos, Debre-Tabor and Debre-Birhan.
Debre-Birhan was founded by Emperor Zara Yaqob in the middle of the 15th century. His excellency president Gedu was humorous saying that Zara Yaqob could have found Debre-Birhan unchanged, had he come back to see it twenty years ago. He was emphasizing the wake up of Debre-Birhan to a hope full city for the region and for the country at large.
His excellency president Gedu, continued with His report on the developments in Debre-Markos and Debre-Tabor without noticing the jaw dropping surprise I had when I saw a very recent picture of Debre-Tabor.
I have known all these Debre cities in some occasions in my early youth time before I moved to San Diego. Of all the three, that I really know was Debre-Tabor. I have been in and out of Debre-Tabor from 1991 to 1996. My relatives, college friends, and new colleagues lived in the town. I have enjoyed its “Tela” and “Areque” alone with the Amharic proverbs and expressions with the locals. When his excellency Gedu displayed, the recent picture of Debre-Tabor, my sigh from the golden memory during my stay in the town really held me by the nake as if I was going to break into tears. Oh my! I have never thought the meeting could be such emotional.
In those days, going to Debre-Tabor, will make anyone lose the benefits of the city. In my youth time, when many of the new places I found were considered as an adventure, I had fallen in love with the encounters I had in Debre-Tabor and never tried to remember what I lost as a result of going very far away from Addis Abeba.
The town was depressed and poverty was all around it. Farmers wore very thorn and tattered clothes, walked on bare foot, had no major benefits from the city. Very lazy and ill-treated horses drag a heavily loaded cart now and then in the grabbled road. One could easily find some residents of the city walk on bare foot. Children and women were heavily stricken by the poverty. The town had one grabbled main road that divided it into east and west. The grabbled road was so dusty that when a car arrived, it would blow all the dust all over the pedestrians and the surrounding. It was very tick dust that friends by your side disappeared in it. There were one high school, and hospital and some missionary school. All the rest was small shanty houses that function as a hotel, a bar and kiosk.
In his excellency presentation, Debre-Tabor is decorated with a round-about asphalted roads. The tall condominiums show no ruminant of the old town in the main street. The town has added a university and Bajajs and healthy looking people move up and down, right and left. My eyes witnessed a modern city look and the hope of development that could spread more for all people in the region in the near future.
I have truthfully been impressed by the progress in Debre-Tabor in the past decades and would like to say thank you to EPDRF and its leadership. In the next decade, educational, water, electricity and health services will transform the resident of Debre-Tabor to an undisputed better life style.