Friday, July 23, 2010

Ethiopia: Less-Known Facts

On the 25th anniversary of Live Aid and Band Aid bringing attention to Ethiopia as a Land of Starvation, what do Ethiopians most wish foreigners knew about their country? The Africa News Blog gives us a few top items, including:
It’s green. No, really. That’s one of the things that most surprises foreigners when they come here. Ethiopia is a huge country with both striking green highlands and parched lowlands, hosting many different climates. A fledgling horticulture industry is doing well, with exports of flowers, fruit and vegetables to Europe, the Middle East and Asia growing every year. ...

Ethiopians are fiercely proud that theirs was the only African country to successfully  repel European colonisers....

The country also follows a unique calendar that squeezes 13 months into every year, and it entered the 21st century seven years after the rest of the world with huge celebrations in 2007. ...

It is said to be the birthplace of coffee. The story goes, that more than a thousand years ago, a young Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi was astonished to see his goats frolicking through the night, standing on their hind legs and generally acting crazy after eating some berries. Curious Kaldi munched on a few himself and, suitably exhilarated, ran home to tell his wife of his discovery. The pair then presented the berries to a monk and told him of their strange effect. “It’s the devil’s work!” the monk shouted and threw the beans in the fire. The resulting beautiful aroma drew other monks who took the now roasted beans and, adding them to hot water, invented coffee. Ethiopia is now Africa’s biggest exporter of the bean.

Ethiopia ... provides 86 percent of Nile waters – something Ethiopians are immensely proud of. They call the river “a gift of Ethiopia”
Some varied, interesting pictures at the website too.

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