Thursday, July 29, 2010

About Ethiopia..

Ethiopia is:

  • a land-locked country in the Horn of Africa
  • roughly twice the size of the state of Texas
  • the second-most populous nation in Africa with over 79.2 million people
  • bordered by Eritrea to the north, Sudan to the west, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, and Kenya to the south
  • one of the oldest countries in the world, having been an independent nation since ancient times (except a brief period of Italian occupation)
  • one of a few African countries to have its own alphabet (called Ge'ez or Ethiopic), and it's own time system and unique calendar, which is seven to eight years behind the Gregorian Calendar (hence the translation problems with pinpointing exact birth dates of the children for referrals!)
  • a land of natural contrasts, with spectacular waterfalls and volcanic hot springs, some of Africa's highest mountains as well as some of the world's lowest points below sea level
  • home to the largest cave in Africa at Sof Omar as well as one of the hottest places year-round anywhere on Earth in the country's northern-most area at Dallol
  • the source of over 85% of the total Nile water flow
  • divided into nine ethnically based administrative countries and subdivided into sixty-eight zones and two chartered cities: Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. It is further subdivided into 550 woredas and several special woredas
  • mentioned in the Bible numerous times. After Egypt, it is the second most frequently mentioned country in both the Old and the New Testaments with approx. 41 Biblical references to Ethiopia (Hebrew - Kush)
  • the most mountainous corner of Africa with almost 80 percent of Africa’s land above 9800 feet despite the fact that the country comprises barely 4 percent of the continent’s total land surface
  • known for it's production of coffee beans, as well as the grain, Teff. Even today, Ethiopia is the top coffee and honey-producing country in Africa, and teff is sown on more land than any other crop in ET. Injera is one of the staples of the ET diet. It is made from Teff. Teff contains more essential minerals than other grains.
  • a deeply spiritual country, and the oldest continuous seat of Christianity after the Egyptian church. The authority of the church is widely respected by the country’s 24 million Orthodox Christians. Ethiopia embraced Christianity less than 400 yrs after the birth of Christ - while Europe was still in the Dark Ages.
  • believed to have connection with biblical events dating back to the ninth century BC when the Queen of Sheba is said to have traveled from her ET palace to meet King Solomon in Jerusalem (their meeting is described in the tenth chapter of the Book of I Kings). ET tradition interprets the scripture to mean that Solomon spent the night with the queen, and that she gave birth to Solomon’s son upon her return to ET. The child was named David, and in due course he ascended to the throne as Menelik I, founder of the Solomonic dynasty. In later times, the link between ET and Christian religion was strengthened by a legend telling that, while still a young man, Menelik brought the fabled Ark of the Covenant to Aksum (where it is believed to still remain). A replica of the ark is enshrined in each of ET’s more than 20,000 Christian churches. Known as Tabots, these replicas play a central role in major religious events.
  • home to nearly 6 million orphans. More than half a million of these were orphaned as a result of AIDS
Ethiopia has:

  • one of the most powerful militaries in Africa
  • around 80 different ethnic groups, with the largest 2 being Oromo and Amhara
  • a tiered government system consisting of a federal government overseeing ethnically based regional countries, zones, districts (woredas), and neighborhoods (kebele)
  • 23,812 kilometers of all-weather roads but only15% are asphalt. Mountainous terrain and the lack of good roads and sufficient vehicles make land transportation difficult and expensive
  • eighty-four indigenous languages. English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is the medium of instruction in secondary schools. Amharic was the language of primary school instruction, but has been replaced in many areas by local languages such as Oromifa and Tigrinya

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