Vancouver Ethiopian Blog

Ethiopian life in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Ethiopia Devalued Its Currency (The Birr) by 17 Percent Against the US Dollar

Ethiopia has devalued her currency, the Birr.

The Birr (ETB) has been declining in its value for the past several years now. During the communist Ethiopia era (1974 to 1991), the currency was held at a constant exchange rate of $1 USD to 2.10 ETB.

The current government devalued the Birr back in 1993 to about 1 USD = 5 ETB. Since then, the Birr has been falling against the dollar. For example, about 2 years ago, in 2008, the exchange rate was $1 USD to 9.50 ETB. Then, $1 USD was trading at about 13.75 ETB for the past year or so.

Now, in its most recent adjustment on September 1, 2010, the Central Bank of Ethiopia has set the exchange rate at $1 USD to 16.35 ETB (that is about 17% devaluation).

Birr to other currencies converter is found here. You can also find other currency converters here:

Yes, when the Birr is devalued, it is good for those of us living abroad as our money goes further. However, for the vast majority of Ethiopians who are living in the country (now over 80 Million), life will get expensive as Ethiopia is a net importer of goods; from gasoline to machinery, to consumer goods.

I hope that the Central Bank of Ethiopia (http://www.nbe.gov.et and http://nbebank.com) will find the best equilibrium for the exchange rate as a sharply fluctuating rate is not good for any nation.

Below is an article by Bloomberg news regarding the devaluation:

Source: Bloomberg

Ethiopia devalued its currency, the birr, by 17 percent against the dollar, the third such move in the past 14 months, according to the National Bank of Ethiopia.

The exchange rate was quoted at 16.351 per dollar today compared with 13.628 yesterday, according to the website of the Addis Ababa-based central bank. It was trading at 11.381 on July 10 last year.

The devaluation will crimp imports and make it easier to boost foreign currency reserves. Ethiopia needs to raise its reserves to 3 months of import cover from 2.3 months to cushion its economy from external shocks, a June report from the International Monetary Fund said.

There is a “need for a 10 percentage point real exchange rate depreciation” in order to achieve that goal, the IMF said in the report.

Ethiopia’s trade deficit was expected to grow to $7 billion in the fiscal year to July 7 from $6.3 billion the year before, according to IMF figures.

Where is the ETB exchange rate heading? As I mentioned in my previous post, the Birr exchange rate to the dollar is estimated at 22. It is being artificially kept at a higher level.

The above Bloomberg article also suggests that, the the Central Bank of Ethiopia might need to devalue the currency to about 18 ETB to the dollar in the near future. So, those of you residing abroad, wait a while before purchasing a big ticket item in Ethiopia; and those planning to sell in Ethiopia and bring your proceeds abroad might want to sell now before the ETB is devalued again.

Ethiopian Professor Seid Hassan Murray State University Department of Economics and Finance

Photo: Professor Seid Hassan

An Ethiopian professor of Economics, Seid Hassan, has written a detailed analysis of the exchange rate adjustment. You can read the article by clicking here.

My next blog entry will be on Thursday September 23, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

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September 16, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Do Billionaires Spend Their Money?

I have come across some people, including some Ethiopians, who want to live beyond their means. Some actually keep dreaming to become millionaires. That is a great dream. But, if one plans to become a millionaire, saving and working starts at an early age.

The common trend among all millionaires and billionaires is that they tend to be very frugal with their money – after all that is why they have a lot of it because they save it and invest it.

According to the article below, there are 1,011 Billionaires in the world. One of them is an Ethiopian born Mohammed Al Amoudi.

Al Amoudi has chosen to invest a lot of money in Ethiopia (now over 2 Billion dollars). He is the second employer, after the government, in Ethiopia. Politics aside, I have seen first hand how the investment by Al Amoudi has paid off for so many. Some people have stated businesses by either getting grants from his office or working for one of his companies.

Unofficial website about Al Amoudi is found here.

Check out the following 2 links (videos) to see how the generosity of Al Amoudi has helped a lot of people in Ethiopia:

For those who are foolishly spending their hard earned money with out any financial plan, the following article by Investopedia’s Jean Folger is a must read.

7 Spending Tips From Frugal Billionaires

By Jean Folger, Investopedia
Thursday, September 2, 2010

Carlos Slim Helu (Carlos Slim), a telecom tycoon and billionaire with well-known frugal tendencies, has a net worth of U.S.$60.6 billion according to Forbes. Assuming no changes in his net worth, he could spend $1,150 a minute for the next 100 years before he ran out of money. To put this in perspective, he could spend in 13 minutes what a minimum-wage earner brings home after an entire year of the daily grind.

Granted, the world’s billionaires (all 1,011 of them) are in the debatably enviable position of having, quite literally, more money than they can possibly spend, yet some are still living well below their means, and save money in surprising places. Even non-billionaires (currently 6,864,605,142 of us) can partake in these seven spending tips from frugal billionaires.

Keep your home simple

Billionaires can afford to live in the most exclusive mansions imaginable – and many do, including Bill Gates’ sprawling 66,000-square-foot, $147.5 million mansion in Medina, Wash. – yet frugal billionaires like Warren Buffet choose to keep it simple. Buffet still lives in the five-bedroom house in Omaha that he purchased in 1957 for $31,500. Likewise, Carlos Slim has lived in the same house for more than 40 years.

Use self-powered or public transportation

Thrifty billionaires including John Caudwell, David Cheriton and Chuck Feeney prefer to walk, bike or use public transportation when getting around town. Certainly these wealthy individuals could afford to take a helicopter to their lunch meetings, or ride in chauffeur-driven Bentleys, but they choose to get a little exercise and take advantage of public transportation instead. Good for the bank account and great for the environment.

Buy your clothes off the rack

While some people, regardless of their net value, place a huge emphasis on wearing designer clothes and shoes, some frugal billionaires decide it’s simply not worth the effort, or expense. You can find David Cheriton, the Stanford professor who matched Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page to the venture capitalists at Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers (resulting in a large reward of Google stock), wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the furniture company Ikea, avoids wearing suits, and John Caudwell, mobile phone mogul, buys his clothes off the rack instead of spending his wealth on designer clothes.

Keep your scissors sharp

The average haircut costs about $45, but people can and do spend up to $800 per cut and style. Multiply that by 8.6 (to account for a cut every six weeks) and it adds up to $7,200 per year, not including tips. These billionaires can certainly afford the most stylish haircuts, buy many cannot be bothered by the time it takes or the high price tag for the posh salons. Billionaires like John Caudwell and David Cheriton opt for cutting their own hair at home.

Drive a regular car

While billionaires like Larry Ellison (co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation) enjoy spending millions on cars, boats and planes, others remain low key with their vehicles of choice. Jim Walton (of the Wal-Mart clan) drives a 15-year-old pickup truck. Azim Premji, an Indian business tycoon, reportedly drives a Toyota Corolla. And Ingvar Kamprad of Ikea drives a 10-year-old Volvo. The idea is to buy a dependable car, and drive it into the ground. No need for a different car each day of the week for these frugal billionaires.

Skip luxury items

It may surprise some of us, but the world’s wealthiest person, Carlos Slim (the one who could spend more than a thousand dollars a minute and not run out of money for one hundred years) does not own a yacht or a plane.
Many other billionaires have chosen to skip these luxury items. Warren Buffet also avoids these lavish material items, stating “Most toys are just a pain in the neck.”

What we can learn

Some of the world’s billionaires have frugal tendencies. Perhaps this thrifty nature even helped them make some of their money. Regardless, they have chosen to avoid some unnecessary spending (at least on their scale) and the 6,864,605,142 non-billionaires out there can follow suit, eliminating excessive, keep-up-with-the-Jones style spending.  No matter what a person’s income bracket is, most can usually find a way to cut back on frivolous spending, just like a few frugal billionaires.

So, what do you think? Do you spend your money foolishly or do you have a financial plan?

My next blog entry will be on Thursday September 16, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

September 9, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How Your Wireless Network is Getting Hacked

These days, it is not uncommon to see a network of computers connected using wireless Hi-Fi technology. It is a simple process – you give your router a unique ID and secure the network with a password, so that, your network is safe and secure against any unauthorized person from accessing your machine.

Now you have set up a “secure” network and are relaxed and not worried about hackers, are you really safe? Well, not 100%. What? I have taken all the basic steps to protect myself, but how can the hackers get to my machine? Well, this is a valid question.

Please be aware of some hacking techniques could be used to gain access to your machine’s network. One of the techniques hackers use when hacking wireless networks is sniffing. What is sniffing?

Sniffing

Sniffing is the simple process of intercepting wireless data that is being broadcast on an unsecured network.

If you are at home, and your network is likely to be secured if you have already configured your network as such. However, places like hotels, libraries, Internet cafes and coffee shops are not secure.

Most of the time, sniffers target public places and hang out close to where Hi-Fi networks exist. There is even an activity known as Wardriving that involves driving around a city picking up wireless data, basically “drive by shooting”.

You can only be fully protected if you avoid unsecured wireless networks. If this is not the option, then the next best thing to do is to be careful about what information you send on an unsecured network.

The Final Words

Although there are a few other ways to crack Hi-Fi network, like spoofing and encryption cracking, sniffing is the most widely used technique to attack networks. New exploits are found constantly, making it difficult to ever ensure that you are 100% protected.

If you are especially a public figure, you will need to be extra careful. Most attacks happen not because the hackers are sophisticated geeks, but because someone was negligence to secure their network and/or logged in at some shady Internet cafe some where.

I strongly advise you to be extra vigilant and take proper steps to secure your network by using a long and highly randomized encryption key, never accessing a wireless network system while you are away from home or office. In short, never log in to a machine connected using Hi-Fi technology if the network is not yours.

My next blog entry will be on Thursday September 02, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

August 26, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ethiopia The First in Africa with AMHS Extended Service from Radiocom, Inc.

Ethiopian Airlines and The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority have made us proud once again. I was happy to see this news release recently and wanted to share it with my readers. It feels good that Ethiopia is leading the aviation industry in Africa.

Recently, Ethiopian Airlines was ranked as the #1 profitable airliner in Africa, and #16 in the world. At this time of depressed economy, it is truly inspiring to read such good news from Ethiopia.

Press Release:

August 5, 2010 – Ethiopia, one of the first African Countries to transition from AFTN to AMHS, decided to do so with the assistance of ICAO and chose Radiocom, Inc as the supplier of excellence to design, supply, install and set to work an AMHS Extended Service. This turnkey installation was carried out by the Radiocom, Inc. experts, who put forward a solid well designed project to suit Ethiopia’s immediate needs, with the possibility of further expansion as required.

The contract was signed in 2009 and after the initial presentation to the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) carried out in Addis Ababa in June last year, the fine tuning began, the system was assembled in Radiocom, Inc. headquarters pre shipment, where the system was thoroughly tested. Once the equipment had arrived in Addis Ababa and customs formalities were under way, a team of 6 engineers and technicians flew to Addis Ababa to commence the installation. Additionally, the system for ECAA was complemented with two specific application data banks DBAIS and AeroBilling (see below).

For this contract, four (4) locations had to be equipped, ECAAs headquarters in Addis Ababa and a number of locations around the Bole airport, Mekele airport, Bahir Dar airport and Dire Dawa airport. Bandwidth needs had to be a big consideration (see below).

Additionally the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority requested the installation of an AMHS Training Facility. This is the first TRAINING CENTER of its kind in AFRICA; it is fully equipped to handle the training of in house personnel as well as hosting international training courses for neighboring countries. This is a service that is very needed in the region and could prove to be a very important, positive and popular asset for ECAA.

Both systems installed are AMHS Extended Service, with specific benefits when evaluating bandwidth requirements. The Radiocom, Inc. system is based on X.400 and X.500 protocol sets particularly X. 400 P3 communicating between the Message Transfer Agent (MTA), the Message Store (MS) and X.400 P7 communicating between the MS and User Agents (UA). This means low bandwidth requirement for communication between the MTA/MS in Bole and the remote location terminals in Mekele, Bahir Dar and Dire Dawa (all hundreds of miles away) need not be more than 9.6Kbit/s, and not the high bandwidth requirements that HTTP based systems require (for the same communication links with the remote location terminals, at least 64Kbits/s may be needed). This helps keep the cost of communication usage right down.

The complete system was left operational on April 30th, 2010 by the Radiocom, Inc. personnel. A further visit was carried out in June for final system acceptance.

Radiocom, Inc. supply a complete range of optional AMHS data banks, including a AIS data bank (DBAIS), a Meteorological data bank (DBMET) an Equipment Systems and Services data bank (DBESS) and an Airport Services Billing data bank (AeroBilling).

Radiocom, Inc. is looking forward to working with more African nations in their transition from AFTN to AMHS. This is a rapidly expanding region and Radiocom Inc. who has a good relationship with ICAO is ready to support their efforts to achieve a speedy and smooth transition throughout the continent.

Source: Radiocom, Inc.

My next blog entry will be on Thursday August 26, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | Leave a comment

Ethiopia: Utilizing Solar and Wind Power Energy

The old all you can eat buffet technology and careless consumption is now going on a diet. The financial disaster of the past couple of years have taught many people to live with in their means of income. Companies and individuals are trying to find out ways to cut their expenses and save money. As a result, many entrepreneurs are coming up with great green solutions. Out of the many green solutions, I am most interested in are the following:

  • Solar Power Energy
  • Wind Power Energy, and
  • Wave Power Energy

Solar and Wind Power Energies are abundantly available in Ethiopia and all over Africa. I believe that it is just a matter of time for the African countries to catch up with these technologies. Israel, Denmark and Germany are great example countries for innovative utilization of solar and wind energy.

Wave energy is too complicated and expensive for even developed countries like Canada to undertake.

No wonder that I was excited when I read that Ethiopia was working on a Wind Power Energy project.

State electricity company Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) is considering an ambitious proposal for the construction of a 300 MW wind farm in eastern Ethiopia near the Djibouti border.

The Ayisha Wind Power Project is a planned joint venture of foreign and Ethiopian companies led by Dr Peer Ederer of Germany, director of the Human Capital Center at the Lisbon Council, a Brussels-based think tank, and scientific director of the European Food and Agribusiness Seminar. It has an estimated cost of $600 million, to be covered by a combination of funding from the African Development Bank and private capital.

The idea is to use local skills and resources as much as possible and to this end three local Ethiopian firms and engineering students at Mekelle, Bahir Dar, Adama and Addis Ababa universities are expected to participate in the technical and technological aspects of the project.

If it goes as planned, the wind farm could be developed within three years and Ederer says, “there are also plans to establish a wind turbine production industry in Ethiopia under the auspices of the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ)”.

EEPCo is currently developing a 120 MW wind power project in the Ashegoda area in the northern Tigray state and has plans for other smaller projects in other parts of the country.

Until now, Ethiopia has relied on hydropower to meet its energy needs but following a rapid increase in demand in recent years this has proved to be inadequate.

Do you have any favoured green technology? Is there any green technology you can take with you to Africa? Share with us.

My next blog entry will be on Thursday August 19, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

August 12, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

China’s Solution for Mass and Green Transportation: Build Straddling Buses

There are more than 1.4 billion people in China. The economy is growing, many have become millionaires and even billionaires just in the past 30 years. Along with growth, comes infrastructure and transportation challenges.

In trying to have a green technology that can transport many people in an already existing infrastructure, Chinese developers have come up with a paradoxical, environmentally-sound solution to speed up traffic. How you may ask? Their answer is to build straddling buses.

Shenzhen Huashi Future Parking Equipment company is developing a 3D Express Coach that will allow smaller cars to drive underneath it – just like a tunnel.

The new bus dubbed, the “Straddling Bus” is a light-rail train system and will stand about 4.5 metres high with two levels. Passengers will board the upper level while smaller vehicles less than 2 metres can drive right through.

Facts about the Straddling Bus:

  • Powered by electricity and solar energy
  • Can reach speeds of up to 60 km/h
  • Can carry 1200-1400 passengers at a time
  • Each bus will cost $500 million yuan (approximately $73 million USD)
  • Construction of the first 115 miles of track will begin in Beijing’s Mentougou district at the end of 2010

The future potential of this technology is very promising. I can see many countries ordering these buses from the Chinese firm. Canadian metro cities could definitely benefit from using these buses.

Ethiopia’s population is growing fast and such buses could be very well utilized in Addis Ababa. I hope that these great buses will be available in my life time in Addis.

For more information, check the following links:

http://www.engadget.com

http://www.chinahush.com

Gallery of Images at Yahoo

My next blog entry will be on Thursday August 12, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

August 5, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Come Out and Celebrate Ethiopian Day on August 28, 2010 in Burnaby, BC

Last weekend (July 25-26), the Caribbean Festival in North Vancouver took place. I wrote about that event in my earlier post.

The Caribbean Festival in North Vancouver is a great example that shows how a small group of people can accomplish myriads of work. We Ethiopians should learn from other minority groups in town on how we can collaborate on a variety of projects and events. We, as a community, have been living in the lower mainland as permanent residents since the mid 1970’s. However, our presence is not felt at any level.

We must work together for the betterment of our community. For instance, the Somali community started coming to Canada and USA in the 1990’s, some 15 years after our community settled in Canada. Ethiopians have been coming for education and trade to the USA since the 1900’s – yes for more than 100 years now, but still the Ethiopian community in the USA is not as strong as it should be. However, the Somali community is way stronger than the Ethiopian community. Even though I don’t endorse all the illegal activities and rude behaviours that the Somalis are famous for, I admire and envy their closeness as a community.

When it comes to the Somalis’ community, we must and need to be like them – however, we must avoid their other negative personalities. I am not generalizing that all Somalis have bad personalities. This is my only experience and I am not painting all Somalis with the same brush.

The vast majority of Ethiopians are very law abiding people. So, if one is a decent citizen, then what makes it so difficult to be united under the community umbrella? I hope to explain this in the future. Also, anyone is welcome to submit an article explaining why we failed as a community so far.

Ethiopian Community in Vancouver BC Organizes the First Annual Summer Festival

The new Ethiopian Community of BC directors have planned a great event this August. It will be “The First Annual Ethiopian Summer Festival” and will be held in Burnaby, BC on August 28, 2010 from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

For Google Map, please click here

For Google Street View, please click here

I am really excited that our community leaders have organized this event. It is way overdue. This is the first annual event in 35 plus years! I wish every one a great time and I thank the organizing committee from the bottom of my heart.

I look forward to seeing you all at the event.

My next blog entry will be on Thursday August 05, 2010.

Mullkam Samint!

July 29, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians and Drugs, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethiopians: Come Out And Celebrate The Caribbean Day Festival In North Vancouver

In my previous post, I wrote about the Surrey Fusion Festival. I attended this fusion event. Again, it was a great event with many nations participating. I was sad, as last year, that Ethiopia was not represented. This year, South Africa and Nigeria were there.

I was also disappointed at the number of Ethiopians who attended. In my count, there were less than 10 Ethiopians. Such events are great and I encourage all to come out and participate.

At this fusion festival event, I met some Sudanese Nubians, who are already working to participate in the 2011 fusion Festival – great to hear that. I am hoping that the Ethiopian community of BC will participate next year.

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July 22, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians and Drugs, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethiopia Hopes to Qualify for 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil After Signing a New Coach

The 2010 FIFA Wold Cup has come and gone. What a great feast of soccer it was!

I love soccer very much and was able to watch most of the world cup games. Most of the time, there were 3 or 2 games a day, and usually at odd hours of the day, like 4:30AM, 7:30AM and 11:30AM Pacific. It was very challenging to watch the games live due to the time differences, however, thanks to CBC Video On Demand services, I was able to watch the games at http://www.cbc.ca

Ghana gave Africa its best shot, but thanks to crazy FIFA rules, they were out too early. I believe that FIFA needs to change its rules when it comes to such very decisive games as the world cup. Ghana’s last minute shot that was unfairly blocked by the Uruguay’s defender hand from getting behind the net, was an obvious goal – in my eyes, such cheap plays must not be allowed and instead it should be assumed as a goal. Well, that is history for now, just wanted for Ghana to win and trying to vent here.

God willing, we will be able to see the next world cup in 2014 in Brazil.

Encouraged by great African soccer team performances in South Africa, Ethiopia has made a good step towards improving its soccer standing, or may be perhaps qualify for the 2014 FIFA games in Brazil, by hiring a new coach.

Ethiopia’s New Coach

Yes, Ethiopia has hired a great coach. His name is Iffy Onoura, 42, a Glasgow native, with a UEFA Pro licence, and graduate of Bradford University. He is a no non-sense, high tempered, British, who is always focused on getting the job done.

Photo: Iffy Onoura, the new Ethiopian soccer coach

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July 15, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Is Addis Ababa Really One of the Cheapest Cities in the World for Expats?

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, has been ranked as one of the cheapest cities in the world by Mercer’s 2010 Cost of Living Survey.

Mercer’s Top 50 expensive cities are found here.

Addis Ababa is ranked at 208th position out of the 214 cities surveyed. According to the survey, “the cost of housing – often the biggest expense for expats – plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked”. Based on this fact, I expected Addis Ababa to be in the top 20.

Please keep in mind that the survey is for expatriates, not for local people. Typical expats in Addis Ababa include embassy officials, NGO employees and those in other similar positions.

I must say that I do not agree with the report when it comes to Addis Ababa. How can Addis Ababa be one of the cheapest cities in the world? A decent family home, say, 6 bed room house with 2,200 sq. ft with 7,000 sq. ft lot is going for $200,000 to 700,000 USD depending on the location of the property. You can check house for sale and rental prices at Ezega’s website.

The exchange rate for $1 USD is about $13.75 EBR (Ethiopian Birr).

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July 8, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ethiopians: Be Part of the Fusion Festival in Surrey

Happy Canada Day to everyone!

Last year, I attended a great event in Surrey, called “Fusion Festival”. It was a great event as there were many fusions of nations that participated. There were countries from Asia, Europe, Caribbeans and South America. The only African nation that participated was Kenya despite Ethiopians numbering at least ten times the population of Kenyans in the lower mainland.

At that event, each country had its own two tents – one tent was to sell food, cultural items, etc. and the next door tent was basically an information booth about that particular group. Despite the few thousand of us Ethiopians living in the Vancouver area, we did not have a presence at the event. I really felt bad that we Ethiopians in diaspora are still half sleep, perhaps, I should say fully asleep.

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July 1, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Planning for your Children Higher Education

Getting a higher education is one of the dreams of all Canadians, including Ethiopians in Canada.

Going to university or college in Canada is not easy for first generation Ethiopians, and all immigrants. Some first generation Ethiopians have managed to graduate from universities and colleges in Canada despite all the difficulties of making a living. Some even have done their PhD. I am proud of them all.

The tuition cost is not that much expensive if you are enrolled in a government funded higher educational institution. What eats a lot of your money is the living expenses. On the other hand, the cost of post-secondary education keeps rising. Experts predict the cost of four years of University at a mid-level university will be over $100,000.00 by the year 2020.

Higher education determines not only your children’s future earning power, but their quality of life too. Therefore, how do you go about getting higher education for yourself or your children? How do you save money? When can you start saving for your children education? Is there a limit to how much you can save within or outside RESP?

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June 24, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , | Leave a comment

Kenyan-Born Harvard Professor, Calestous Juma Says: “Invest in High Speed Internet” to African Leaders

Kenyan-Born Harvard University Professor, Calestous Juma, says information and communication technologies are the foundations for Africa to meet its developmental needs

In late January 2010, Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa hosted the 14th Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) heads of state.

The theme of the summit was “Information and Communication Technologies in Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Development”.

Kenyan-born Calestous Juma, who is director of Science, Technology and Globalization at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, said although most African countries had been saddled with inadequate information technology, the situation is improving gradually.

“Up to now information has been probably the most costly resource on the continent. But, this is changing very fast. We’ve seen a dramatic impact that mobile phones have had on Africa economic scene as well as political scene. But, with the arrival of fiber optic cable, Africa now has this possibility of accessing high speed internet,” he said.

Photo: Calestous Juma

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June 10, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet Ethiopian Role Model Entrepreneur – Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu

Old truck tyres never die, they just turn into sandals

What do you do with your old tyre from your car or truck? Chances are you will throw it out in the garbage. No wait! Some one wants it! Yes, a young Ethiopian entrepreneur has made a carrier for herself, and 50 plus of her employees.

Meet an Ethiopian role model – Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu – who has combined the Internet’s selling power with nimble business practices more often associated with Asian countries, the idea has been turned into an unlikely international hit. Bethlehem, 30, quit her job as an accountant, to launch Sole Rebels.

Her company, Sole-Rebels, has received an International Fair Trade Certification. This means, she pays her employees decent wages, and follows labour codes. Even her employees have health benefit packages.

Bethlehm’s success has allowed her to expand and construct a solar-powered factory, adjacent to her old factory.

Her suppliers deliver old truck tyres and tubes to her factory; and she has hired women to spin, weave and dye locally-grown cotton, jute and hemp using skills passed down through generations. The results have been astonishing. Sole-Rebels thrived in the global market with no outside support, other than a government line of credit to help meet large orders.

Workers at Bethlehem’s SoleRebels factory — located in the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa — cut, sew and glue to fulfil Internet purchases from customers as far away as Canada and Australia.

Bethlehem_Bethy_Sole_Rebels_Founder_Photo

Photo: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, co-founder of SoleRebels,
eco-friendly footwear company from Ethiopia, is highlighted
in this week’s CNN’s African Voices. (Screen shot from CNN)

Bethlehem has sold many thousands of pairs of handmade flip-flops, boat shoes, loafers and Converse-style trainers to foreign customers.

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June 3, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa

The 19th FIFA World Cup will be held in South Africa from June 11 to July 11, 2010. The World Cup is a premier international football / soccer tournament.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be the culmination of a qualification process that began in August 2007 and involved 204 of the 208 FIFA national teams.

This will be the first time that the tournament has been hosted by an African nation, after South Africa beat Morocco and Egypt in an all-African bidding process.

Italy as the defending champions, and South Africa as a host nation are automatically qualified. The rest 30 countries qualified after beating their regional competitors.

World_Cup_2010_FIFA_South _Africa

The total 32 countries participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup are:

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May 27, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

My Cousin in Ethiopia Fell Victim to a Nigerian Phishing Scam

Recently I received an email, supposedly from my cousin. The subject said, Please Help Me. I never got an email with such subject line from my cousin in the past; so I was very curious to find out what kind of help she needed.

I opened the email as soon as I saw it. The email read as follows:

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May 13, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

San Jose: Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America 2010

The Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) has announced its 27th annual sports and cultural event to take place from June 27 to July 3, 2010. Yes, San Jose, California will be the host this year.

The “S” in ESFNA once stood for “Soccer”, but over the years, that did change to “Sport” so that other sports could be added. However, lately, the event has become more than sports. Therefore, the website’s (http://www.esfna.org) translates ESFNA in Amharic as, “Ethiopian Sports and Cultural Federation in North America”. I agree with the translation and it really makes sense.

Ethiopian_Sports_Soccer_Federation_in_North_America_Tournament

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May 6, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ethiopia Launches Electric Car

I read a good news this week that an Italian-Chinese business venture is opening a factory in Ethiopia to produce a practical and affordable electric car. Just last month, Rwanda launched its first bio-diesel bus.

Even though there is a power shortage, at the present time, in Ethiopia, especially in the capital city Addis Ababa, it looks like that this venture could be successful.

Ethiopia is only the second African country to launch an electric car, after South Africa.

Carlo Pironti, general manager of Free Style PLC, the company that will be producing the Solaris electric cars, said, ” Ethiopia’s current electricity shortages were not a major obstacle to operating an electric car”. He believes that in the future, “Ethiopia will have lots of power supply”. Free Style PLC has been doing business in Ethiopia for the past 15 years in the areas of renewable energy supplies, including solar and wind power.

For those who have concerns about Ethiopia’s power supply, Mr. Pironti said, “In any case, the car can be recharged by generator and by solar power.”

Photo: Solaris Elettra Electric Car in Addis Ababa

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April 15, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Visible Minorities in Canada

Canada is a great country to live in. It is blessed with natural resources. It is one of the few countries that allows other nations to come and live in its land. Canada has given me the opportunity to learn not only about Canada, but also about all the other cultures who have settled here. I am proud to call Canada my home and father land, and Ethiopia as my mother land.

Labels
One of the things I like about the English language is that, it is rich in vocabulary and any thing could be given a name and/or labelled. However, out of all the labels, there is one phrase I detest very much – it is the phrase, “visible minority“. This phrase has bothered me very much for many years.

What is Visible Minority?
Statistics Canada takes its definition of a “visible minority” from the federal Employment Equity Act, which is “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”

I understand the fact that the phrase, “visible minority” is not a racist phrase. Yes, as an African living in Canada, that makes me a minority. But, do I have to be labelled as “visible minority”?

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April 8, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sending Money to Ethiopia

Sending money oversees is way to complicated! But, does it have to be? If you are sending money, for instance, to Europe from Canada or US, then you have many choices:

  • Money Orders – via banks, post office, etc.
  • Cash Transfers – via agents like Western Union, etc.
  • Bank Transfers – via banks in wires, cheques, drafts, etc.

These services are very expensive both to the sender and recipient. The sender pays outrageous service fees and the recipient also gets dinged service fees in addition to lower exchange rates.


Photo: 1985 Ethiopian Gold Coin – showing a value of $400 Birr – worth a lot more at the present!

But, if you are sending money to Ethiopia, your options are limited. Most people in North America send money to Ethiopia using local licensed agencies rather than big corporations. These local agencies are mostly run by other fellow Ethiopians.

The service fees by the corporations are way to high, and also small local agencies give you the best exchange rates.

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April 1, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Installing and Using Amharic Software in Windows 7

Microsoft recently released Windows 7, which included Amharic and many other African languages. I did cover that story in my post, entitled, “Microsoft to Release Windows 7 in Amharic, Ethiopian National Language, and Nine Other African Languages“, which you can read by clicking here.

I have not upgraded to Windows 7 yet, so I don’t have a personal experience to write my own review on how the system works and how good or bad it is.

Because many people have shown a great deal of interest in the Amharic system, I did a little bit of research and have found the following information:

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March 18, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Ethiopia – a Role Model Country for Religious Tolerance

This past weekend a major religious clash took place in Nigeria. Hundreds of Christians were killed by Muslims on a broad day light in the city of Jos. BBC has reported all the details here. And The Times On Line has also reported all the details here.

As Africa’s most populous nation and one of the top oil sources, Nigeria has been one of the most stable countries in Africa for many years. This ugly event of murder and chaos has worried not only Nigerians, but also the West. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called this week on Nigeria to find and punish those responsible for the killings of more than 500 Christians in a wave of sectarian slaughter. More reporting on the Nigerian violence is here.

Ethiopia and Religion

Ethiopians of all religions and faith have lived side by side through out the centuries. This was mentioned by Professor Isaac’s letter, which I published here. Yes, it is gratifying to know that Ethiopians were / are able to respect each other’s religion despite what was / is happening in and around Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s Muslims are traditionalists who sincerely follow the Quraan. I have never come across any Muslim who displayed hate, violence or anger towards others while growing up in Ethiopia. My hope and prayer is that, Ethiopia will continue to enjoy religious harmony for centuries to come.

For centuries, “Religion is personal where as Ethiopia is for all” has been the guiding principles of the leaders and the people of Ethiopia. This still holds true today in Ethiopia and hope it will hold true forever. Yes, Religion is a very sensitive issue and should be handled delicately.

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March 11, 2010 Posted by | Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Battle of Adwa and the Defeat of Fascist Italy – March 2, 1896

On March 2, 1896, Ethiopia accomplished no other Africans have ever done – Ethiopia was able to defeat Fascist Italy that crossed its boundaries for the purpose of looting and colonization.

On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, Ethiopia marked the 114th anniversary of the Battle of Adwa Victory. So, I decided to write a post about it. Ethiopia was the first and only country in Africa that defeated European colonial power during the ‘scramble for Africa’ rush.

Ethiopia, under Emperor Menelik II, decimated the invading Italian army at the northern town of Adwa. That victory became a symbol of independence and pride for all black people around the World, specially Africans. The victory was sweeter for African Americans, who were fighting racism in America at the time. The victory of Adwa was a huge event, and still it is in the minds of Ethiopians and Africans.

Because of Ethiopia’s triumph over Italy, many African nations have adopted Ethiopia’s flag (Green, Yellow, Red) in its various combinations.

From The archives of the New York Times on The Battle of Adwa.

Click on the links below to read from the New York Times Archives:

The above two news articles from 1896 are a must read and remind us all that we should never take our freedom for granted; and continue our best to cherish our freedom.

Related Video

Haile Gerima’s Video regarding Adwa is found here.

Thank you very much our forefathers for paying the ultimate sacrifice to save Ethiopia!

My next blog entry will be on Thursday March 11, 2010

Mullkam Samint!

March 4, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and Canadian Patriotism

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic games are progressing very well. Canada is currently ranked at fourth place in medial count rankings; behind USA, Germany and Norway.

I am really glad to see that, finally, Canadians have shown their patriotic side. Such out pouring enthusiastic patriotism was never expected in Canada as Canadians are very polite and subdued people, who keep low profile, don`t usually brag, for example, as compared to Americans.

A few days ago, I went to down town and in surrounding suburbs to witness for myself first hand all the patriotic events I saw on TV. Sure enough, I too was carried away with the celebrations. Robson square was crowded, the whole down town was flooded, and is still flooded, with a lot of people as I write this blog.

Chants of “Go Canada Go!”,  impromptu performances of the Canadian National Anthem (O! Canada), visceral screams of “Whoooo!”, “Canada!”, and more have echoed throughout Vancouver, and neighbouring cities.

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February 25, 2010 Posted by | Canadian Patriotism, Ethiopian Adoptions, Ethiopian Alphabet, Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Calendar, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Dating, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Languages, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Music, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Professors, Ethiopian Proverbs, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Restaurants, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopian Sports, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians and Khat, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment