After agreeing to go to Africa, it soon became apparent that we would have to choose a safe place in Africa. We didn’t like the thought of going anywhere politically unstable or somewhere rife with violence and war.
A honeymooning couple in a resort in Kenya near the contested Somalian border were shot and kidnapped. South Africa had apartheid and blood diamonds. Most of the African countries are riddled with malaria. Lions could attack and eat you.
But Ethiopia, the second oldest African country (after Egypt) has never been colonised, except briefly in the 1800’s by the Italians and for three years in WW2, again by Italians. But these attempts were short-lived and as a result the original settlers are still there and don’t harbour hatred or dislike to foreigners who stole their country and treated them like shit, like in many other countries: Australia with the Aboriginals, New Zealand with the Maori….
Ethiopia is in the “Horn of Africa.” The horn of Africa is on the Eastern side of Africa – that pointy triangle bit that sticks out into the Arabian Sea. It is comprised of Ethiopia (85 million), Somalia (9.3 million), Eritrea (5.2 million), and Djibouti (0.86 million) and covers an area of about two million square kilometers.
Ethiopia was one of the founding members of the UN and it’s capital, Addis Ababa has the second largest number of diplomats in the world (after Washington).
The people don’t drink so there is no violent brawling on the streets or alcohol-induced crime.
Universally, the people are known as reserved and respectful. The government is stable, smart and fair. The people of Ethiopia pride themselves on their political stability.
There is some danger surrounding the contested borders – particularly with Eritrea. Or so the internet says. The political and history books maintain that the two countries have an understanding. (Eritrea used to be part of Ethiopia). Addis Ababa (which is where we will be living for the next two years) is in the very middle of Ethiopia, far from the borders. It is at an altitude of 2300metres – above the height of malaria. And although it is just nine degrees from the equator, the altitude makes it cool – the year-round average day time temperature is 20°C and at night, 10°C.
Tim says that if you think and act safe, and don’t let that slip away from being too comfortable for too long, you shouldn’t come to harm.
The horn of Africa is at preset rife with famine. However, Ethiopia and Eritrea are considered to be some of the fastest growing economies of 2011, according to a report published in “The Economist: The World in 2011.” One of the major issues is that food cannot be transported across the vast countryside before it goes bad. So it’s rotting on one side of the country while millions starve on the other side. But with the installation of a North-South, East-West railway system hunger will hopefully soon be brought under control, or at least largely improved.
I’ve never been to Africa and I do not wish to glamourise it or make it seem like it is something that it’s not. Ethiopia is still very much a third world country and it has it’s problems. But an adventure is an exciting journey – one during which you must wish (at least at one point or another), that you were back home. (Or so my parents’ friends say). So if there’s nothing that makes me want to come home at least at one point or another, then it’s not really an adventure, is it?