2017 Fellows

Get Out…of Addis

By Maceda Alemu

maceda_blog1This past September, as part of my fellowship with St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, I had the chance to travel to a few cities outside of Addis Ababa, including Mek’ele, Axum, Gondar, and Bahir Dar. It was an incredible experience. After a bit of reflection, I wanted to share the top three moments from my travels with you, the reader and share some professional tips (pro tips) for adventures in Ethiopia with you, the future visitor. For those who know me, being brief is… practically impossible, but I always enjoy a good challenge – so here goes and hope you enjoy this short read!

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Setaweet

By Saba Alemnew

Saba_Blog2

Ever since I arrived to Ethiopia, I have noticed that public spaces are predominantly occupied  by men. Whether it is the streets I walk on, the taxis I take, or the cafes I go to, I’ve noticed that men tend to outnumber women. I have also noticed that women are often expected to behave passively.  So I was quite surprised when I heard about an active feminist group here in Addis Ababa called Setaweet.

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Meskel

Meron2By Meron Begashaw

As a member of an active immigrant Ethiopian community in Los Angeles, I have had the opportunity to experience the pleasures of our culture, traditions, and, with much fervor, our holidays on the grandest of scales. As an Orthodox Christian, I can, for example, attest to the elaborate, deeply spiritual, and somewhat comparable-to-Ethiopia experience that is the Timket holiday in Los Angeles. This annual celebration of Epiphany is arguably one of the largest – in both the number of partakers and the scope of festivities – in the Diaspora. In my imagination, nothing can compare to celebrating holidays in the land that originated the ornate practices we replicate in the Diaspora. This is one of the reasons why I was so excited to celebrate Meskel, the holiday whose devotees commemorate the finding of the Christian True Cross, for the first time ever in Ethiopia.

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Navigation

Alem Kib New

By Eden Mekonen

 

unnamedAt the start of our pre-departure training in Los Angeles, we learned about the “Four H’s of Acculturation” – these being Honeymoon, Hostility, Humor, and Home. As someone who’s admittedly oscillated between humor and hostility, I sometimes feel as though a fifth “H” should be included for “Humbled.” Addis Ababa, and Ethiopia in general, has truly been a humbling experience for a compass-dependent and GPS reliant person, such as myself. I like to think of Google Maps as the reliable friend who you can always count on to help you out when you literally don’t know which way to turn; the friend you could always depend on to guide you whenever you take a misstep. However, as GPS isn’t widely used or accessible in Addis Ababa, navigating around the city has proven very challenging for me.

While this isn’t my first stay in Ethiopia, in previous visits I’ve often relied on directionally-savvy family members for geographic guidance. However, having come back to Addis this time around as an Ethiopian Diaspora Fellow,

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More than Just a Number

By Eden Mesfin

It’s hard to describe my connection with Ethiopia as a Diaspora. I was raised to love my Ethiopian culture, history, and heritage since the day I was born. Yet, my only memory and my first trip to Ethiopia was five years ago – when I went to bury my mother. My tie to Ethiopia was embedded in my mother’s passing. However, I found that although returning to Ethiopia would be painful, it was something I desperately wanted and needed. Coming to Ethiopia would begin a new chapter of my identity as an Ethiopian.

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