Wrapping Up Ethiopia

by brian on January 10, 2009

This is the place where I got the most Scooby Doo “HUH?” looks when I told people I was going there.

When you hear the word ETHIOPIA, what do you think of?

Flies buzzing around the faces of starving people. Famine. Disease.

As someone told me when I was there, “We appreciated ‘We Are the World’. But now that’s what everyone thinks of us.”

I went to Ethiopia because I knew there was a side I had not seen, beyond all the television images. Don’t get me wrong. There is definitely poverty and hunger there. But that does not make up the entire country. Or even the majority of the country for that matter.

Addis Ababa looks like any other large city. Lots of cafes and restaurants. And they are full of people enjoying a snack and some coffee. You’ll see donkeys walking the streets, mud paths that serve as roads, and other signs that this is still a developing nation. I hate the phrase “third world”.

But what pictures don’t portray are the culture of a nation. More importantly the pride and respect that people carry themselves with. Even with poverty prevalent, violent crime is very low.

Never take the images on TV at face value. There is ALWAYS another side you don’t see. Matter of fact, there are MULTIPLE sides you don’t see. It’s up to you to decide to go seek it out.

Second, to those of us who are citizens of the West, especially to my fellow Americans…

As much as we like to down and criticize our country, we are STILL the dream to many in the rest of the world.

IMGP0803 Wrapping Up EthiopiaNo Uncle Sam, they want you more than you want them…trust me, I know

No matter how many images of American flag burnings and hanging presidents in effigy you see, there are 10 more people dying to get to American shores. Some quite literally dying before they get there.

The most important thing I carry with me when I travel: My American citizenship

Doors open. Service becomes better. The weight of United States of America is behind you. You become instant marriage material…

Bonus for me: My President-elect looks like me.

Never take that for granted at home or abroad.

I know I never will again.

As for Sarena, I love this photo of us, right before I left Addis Ababa. It’s fun, it’s serious, it’s cute, it’s stylish. If anyone from Calvin Klein, GQ, or Vogue is reading, contact me. I’m sure she’s up for a photo shoot.

 Wrapping Up Ethiopia
We could be a couple just starting out…
Or sent back by Skynet to find John Connor!

Do you realize I’ve been in London almost two weeks and I’ve hardly talked about it? That changes with the next blog post. I’ve got loyal readers to shout out.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Bathabile January 13, 2009 at 5:54 PM

And I ask again, you left her behind?!

Reply

brian January 16, 2009 at 11:09 AM

@ Bathabile
I need to meet all the African women I can before making such a critical decision! Especially those who owe me dinner…

Reply

Sarah January 23, 2009 at 5:20 PM

Very honorable for you to go there in order to see beyond the mass portrayal…

Reply

adia October 23, 2009 at 10:29 PM

you've lost weight! Ohmigoodness you look like a slim Black Thought! (You weren't big to begin with) It looks like Eithiopia was good to you. Most folks (brothers) I know have forgotten about We Are The World they are only thinking about ladies like yours when they hear Eithiopia. I have to echo Bahabile "You left her behind?"

Reply

brian October 24, 2009 at 9:46 PM

@Sarah
I don't know if was honorable. I would call it more curiosity than anything else.

@adia
I gained that weight back since then. Honestly I didn't know all of that was going to happen with the 'ladies'. I just remember that woman we met in Ghana and how she just wanted people to come visit her homeland.

Reply

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