Ethiopia, located in Sub-Saharan Africa, is a country split by the Great Rift Valley. It is a land known for its ancient culture, with archaeological findings dating back to more than 3 million years ago.
My recent journey to Ethiopia was nothing but a fascinating experience. Upon my arrival, I looked down from the plane window and I could never imagine a more breath-taking view. With its beautiful, vast lands and enormous mountains, I felt a sense of pleasure and comfort. However once I landed, I quickly came to find out that the country is experiencing some severe problems. Ethiopia has been known in the past for having bad droughts, but those were nothing compared to what I encountered. Some areas of the country were not completely deprived, but some places were horrific, specifically the town Dubti, in northeast Ethiopia. The lands were all dried out and the people were becoming helpless. According to U.S. News and World Report, “The crops have failed and farm animals have been dying amid severe drought that has left Ethiopia appealing for international help to feed its people.” They also stated later in the article, “The river that runs through is slowly drying up.” More and more people are becoming concerned for their lives, and several worry that their children will not survive. Hunger and starvation is a major problem arising in Ethiopia. The U.S. News and World Report reports, “Only a third of the $1.2 billion needed for emergency food assistance in the country has been raised.” Although the money raised may seem sufficient, they need much more. When returning to the United States, I made it a goal to raise awareness of this issue, and will continue to do so.
Although, Ethiopia seems to be in a state of no progression due to droughts and famine, this is not necessarily true. They are making a strong attempt to establish themselves as a more developed economy with high-growth potential. The government is making many efforts, trying to increase forms of communication and Internet use, in hope to transition Ethiopia into a more advanced society. One key improvement that I was lucky to witness while I was in Ethiopia was the newly opened metro railway in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. This was one of the foremost developments that will continue to benefit the country in various ways. The Marketplace Africa further explains the metro in their article: The metro offers an efficient form of transportation, allowing one to rise above the heavy populated streets of the city. Ethiopia is the first of all Sub-Saharan Africa countries to take initiative in building a metro. When in Addis Ababa, I was one of the 60,000 people to use the metro at this point in time. At only 30 cents per journey, I found the metro very affordable for all people, including low-income workers. This was a very important aspect the government focused on when constructing this, due to the high amounts of poverty throughout Ethiopia. The article quotes, “In Addis Ababa there’s a population of four million people of which 3.5 million are minibus taxi users. The train is expected to transport around 1.5 million people.” The railroad will not completely eliminate the use of minibus taxis, but will help alleviate the amount of users, especially those wishing to travel long distances.
Another aspect of Ethiopia that I found rather intriguing was their desire for a more nondiscriminatory society, particularity for women. According to allAfrica, African leaders and delegates from thirty-eight international organizations are attending the 26th African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa under the theme: “2016: African Year of Human Rights with particular focus on the Rights of Women.” Ethiopia has been one of the most well known countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for their degradation towards women. I was appalled to hear various stories from Ethiopians about how they used to put men above women in several areas, including literacy, health, and many other basic human rights. However, within the past few years, Ethiopia has taken many steps towards gender equality and this was fascinating to see. I am strongly against discrimination and therefore I was very excited to see all Ethiopia has gone through to get to where they are today. According to allAfrica, Ethiopia is ready to share its experience of establishing the human rights of Ethiopian women to the rest of Africa.
From my experience in Ethiopia, I gathered that it is often times seen as an underdeveloped country with not much hope. Despite the complications that are arising from the drought, I have faith in the country and have made a point to focus on the good of the country. In my opinion, if Ethiopia continues to pay attention to the concerns of the society and makes an effort to improve them, as well as receiving help from other countries to support them during this drought, they will eventually recover and hopefully flourish as well.