• Lead. Serve. Create.

    Welcome to the Fellows' Blog

    Every other week from February through June meet us back here to find a new post by our 2018-2019 cohort of Ethiopian Diaspora Fellows.

  • Our Fellows

    Meki Shewangizaw

  • Our Fellows

    Rebekah Tsadik

  • Our Fellows

    Feven Abiy

  • Our Fellows

    Edom Wessenyeleh

  • Our Fellows

    Samrawit Tamyalew

Beauty and Selfies


Running on the mountains behind Jomo, the same mountains many famous Ethiopian runners practice on!

When I first started my journey in Ethiopia, I expected it to be challenging and inspirational. In many ways, it’s been both of those things, and so much more. I remember the surreal feeling of actually being in the country I was born in for the first time in over a decade and the mixed emotions of excitement, nervousness, and curiosity.

I wanted to adjust to life in Addis as authentically as possible; I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and really make the experience about personal growth. I found that each time I left the house, whether it was getting lost and walking in the rain to get home from the gym, or learning the art of bargaining when shopping to avoid overpaying because I look “American”, or taking a taxi and having my phone stolen, there was always a new adventure awaiting me. In all the experiences I’ve had so far in Ethiopia, there has been a consistent theme of peace and community.

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Ethiopia – The Good, The Bad, and The Funny

By Naome Seifu

My whole life, I’ve dreamed of coming to Ethiopia. I was born and raised in the U.S and this trip was my very FIRST time coming to Ethiopia.

A lot has happened, and I can honestly say I’m becoming a new woman. I’m learning who I am and how I can better myself. I’ve always loved life, but I’m appreciating the life I’ve been given. It’s the simple things that I take for granted.

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A Tale of Two Homes

By Ebanezare Tadele

I remember my reaction when I was 13 and my parents first told my brothers and I that we were going to be in Ethiopia for the summer. What business did we have in Ethiopia? Ethiopia wasn’t my home, it was theirs. Going to Ethiopia didn’t make sense to me- after all, isn’t this the country they fled from? It didn’t seem very appealing to go to a developing country that the media portrays as being plagued with famine, poverty, and AIDS especially when the alternative was summer break. I had no idea that Ethiopia would end up being the place where I would want to spend the rest of my life.

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New Year, New Perspective

By Liat Desta

My journey of self-realization started a few days before the Ethiopian New Year, Pagume 3rd or September 8th. My coworker was explaining to me the significance of this date, the Orthodox holiday of Rufael. This holiday is eagerly awaited by believers of the Orthodox faith because it is said that this day’s rainfall is holy water. It is a blessing where you should not cover yourself, but instead, get wet and receive the blessing. Then a few days later, it (finally) became 2008 in Ethiopia. Every New Year is seen as a chance for one to start over, to break old habits, start a healthier lifestyle, and set goals to become a better version of oneself. Yet, there have been three times in this past month that have given me more clarity on me and my identity than I have ever had in my entire life—this fellowship, Rufael, and Enkutatash (New Year’s).

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