Sunday, November 15, 2009

My day by the river valley, snapping pictures

I like this one, although it kind of hurts my eyes. It's because the focus of the picture isn't in the center, and everything else is out of focus. But, since my camera likes to automatically focus, I had to tweek it to get to not focus in the center.







There were these cool trees that looked out of a painting or fantasy book- their long limbs not reaching up, but over- stretching like multiple arms over the valley towards the river; like they were perpetually blown by a heavy wind=== awesome trees!














This photo makes me want to reach my hand into it, grab the nearest branch and climb up the tree!





Completely different day from the other pictures: but these giant chairs at a near-by hotel were too interesting to not get a picture taken sitting in them. Even Biruk's feet aren't touching the ground, and he's sitting forward in the chair!







Tuesday, November 10, 2009

True or False

Biruk was born in 1979.

True. The Ethiopian calendar is 8 years behind the rest of the world. They celebrated the millennium in 2008. For the rest of the world, 1979 in Ethiopia was 1987.

Ethiopian time usually has people waking up around 1-2 a.m.

True. Ethiopian time uses 2 12 hour segments, but not beginning at midnight, like our time. Instead, one beings at dawn and goes until dusk, then the next one starts again. Because they are close to the equator, there is not much of a fluctuation in sunrises and sunsets as people in American and Canada experience. Hence, if if the sun rises at 6 am, most people would be waking up around 1 or 2 (6 or 7) am.

The capital of Djibouti is Dire Dawa.

False. The capital of Djibouti is Djibouti. The connection to Ethiopia is that it used to be part of Ethiopia many years (more than 100, I believe) ago, Ethiopia sold it so that they could get a railroad put in.


Ethiopia was the first Christian country.
False. Ethiopia was the second Christian nation, Armenia the first.

Somalia is part of Ethiopia.
True. There is a region in Ethiopia called 'Somalia' it is near the border to the country of Somalia. Just as there are different tribes of people (Oromo, Amhara) there are the Somali people of Ethiopia, as well.

Ethiopia has connections to: Rastafarian, or Christianity, or Judaism, or Islam.
All of these are true. The Rastafarian religion claimed that the leader of Ethiopia Haile Selassie was the returned Christ. Many devout Rastafarians moved to Ethiopia.
Ethiopia was the second Christian country.
Ethiopia had a group of people who were Jewish, called Falasha. They thought that they were the only Jewish people still alive, they did not have all of the Old Testament, only the books of Moses. During a famine, it was discovered that these people were practicing Jews and a Jewish group paid for them to be flown out of Ethiopia so that they wouldn't starve to death. Hence, they learned that they were not the only Jewish people left in the world. Also, traditionally it is passed down that Ethiopians originated as the child or children of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
Islam has connections to Ethiopia in that Muhammad, the founder of the religion was encouraged to flee to Ethiopia to escape persecution. And the first person who did the call to prayer for the Islamic religion was an Ethiopian. There still remains a large Muslim population in Ethiopia.

There are 13 months in the Ethiopian calendar.
True. 11 months (excluding February) have 30 days in them. The remaining 5 days (6 on leap years) are added for a 'mini month' at the very end of the year. 11+ February + mini month = 13. The year also begins in the middle of September, making figuring out how Ethiopian dates correspond to the rest of the word a process.

Amharic (the official language of Ethiopia) is a Semitic language.

True. Amharic is actually a combination of Hebrew and Arabic. Many of the swear words are the same in Arabic and Amharic. Biruk's name comes from Hebrew, meaning blessed. Abba, the Hebrew word for father, is also the Amharic word for father. In reading the Bible, you may have noticed that 'Beth' means house (Beth Shalom, Bethlehem), in Amharic 'bet', or 'beta' means house.

Homer mentions Ethiopia in the Odyssey and the Iliad.

True. Iliad: book 2, chapters 29 and 146; book 3 chapter 17. Odyssey: book 1, lines 22-23; book 4, line 84 (Abyssinia)

Haile Selassie was a famous runner for Ethiopia.
This was a trick question. True or False would have been accepted. Haile Gabr-Selassie was a famous runner for Ethiopia. Haile Selassie was a ruler of Ethiopia who is much debated about if he was an evil or a good ruler. And, for some reason I quite easily discovered Haile Gabr-Selassie's sister's phone number on the internet, suggesting that I contact her if I wanted accommodations arranged for my stay.

Abyssinia is another name for Ethiopia.
True. Cush is also another name used in the Bible, which could also include parts of Sudan and Ethiopia. On a side note, if E is replaced with U and the H and one I are removed: Ethiopia -E= thiopia. -h= tiopia. - i = topia = u = utopia. Yes, it a lot of steps, but the Utopia is still pretty easily seen, and changing American to Utopia isn't quite as easy.

Coffee was discovered in Ethiopia.
True. It is still a major export. When the Italians made residence they learned about the coffee, hence cappuccinos, lattes and macchiatos can be attributed to both Italy and Ethiopia.

Ethiopia was colonized by Italy.
False. It was never colonized and Ethiopians are very proud to be a nation that was never colonized. There were 2 wars fought between Italy and Ethiopia, 1895 and 1935. The Italians occupied Ethiopia for a brief time, but they never gained power and the Ethiopians never surrendered and the Italians left. Here is a snippet from the first Italian invasion war (source: wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Italo-Ethiopian_War )
"General Baratieri planned to surprise the larger Ethiopian force with an early morning attack, expecting that his enemy would be asleep. However, the Ethiopians had risen early for Church services, and upon learning of the Italian advance, swept forth to meet it, and crushed the Italians."
After the Italians left, spaghetti and lasagna were adopted by the Ethiopians and they put their own take on it. Also, a few words remained; Ethiopians refer to a kitchen as the 'coshina', the Italian for it is the similarly pronounced; 'cucina'.

And I'm going to Ethiopia in about 4 weeks!
This was not supposed to actually be a question for this quiz. But I am leaving in the beginning of December.