Published on February 21, 2014
Thank you for you letters!!! I was so happy to receive your pictures and questions that I made another presentation in order to answer all of them!
How far are you from the waterfall in the picture? The waterfall is in a big city called Bahir Dar. I live 2 hours from Bahir Dar by bus in Injibara.
What kind of climate does Ethiopia have? If you look on a map, you can see that Ethiopia is covered in mountains! Most of the country is located at a higher elevation than the surrounding countries. This makes the climate very diverse. In some areas in the south there is a tropical climate where people grow mangoes, avocados, papaya, and bananas. Where I live, in the north, we have a temperate climate. It rains often and freezes at night. We mostly grow tomatoes, wheat, potatoes, and onions. In the far north (Tigray and Afar
Are there gardens and farms there? What do they grow? There are so many farms here! In the tropical areas there are mango, papaya, plum, banana, false banana, and coffee farms. At higher elevations there are potato, onion, carrot, beet, wheat, teff, and tomato farms. In my town, they are trying to teach farmers to plant pear and apple trees! I am very excited about having apples!!! The two biggest crops in Ethiopia are teff and coffee. (This is a picture of a
What kind of wild animals live in your area? What is your favorite Ethiopian animal? Ethiopia has many endemic animals. These are animals you can’t find anywhere else in the world! Google “Ethiopia endemic animals” to see all the different animals that live here! In my area, the only wild animal that people talk about is the hyena. I have never seen a hyena though. These are the strange wild animals that I have seen: (monkeys are definitely the best! They are fun to watch and they steal your food!!)
How deep is your toilet? Really great question! I often wonder the same thing… When I shine a flashlight down the toilet hole, I can see the bottom. Thankfully, mine is not close to full. Some of my friends’ toilets overflow when it rains though… Here are two ceramic toilets. Mine is better because it is only cement (the hole is bigger).
When did you start to learn Amharic? I started learning Amharic when I first arrived in Ethiopia. It is difficult to learn Amharic without a teacher. Thankfully when I arrived Peace Corps had great teachers for us!! There are 230 different syllabic characters to learn.
What is your favorite nature place to hike? The most beautiful place I have seen so far is the crater lake called Ara Shatan in Butajira. We walked around the entire lake (1.5 miles) and we also met a man who lived with his family in a cave near the lake. Here are 3 of my favorite photos:
Is the school in a town or village? How many people live there? Injibara is a town and there are 7 elementary schools. 4 are public and 3 are private. About 40,000 people live in Injibara. Each school has 250 - 500 students (half in the morning, half in the afternoon). The photo is an example of what all schools look like.
Is the school in the center of the village or on the outside edge? The farthest elementary school is a 45 min walk from town. Most students attend a school close to their house because everyone walks to school. The college that I work at is a 3 mile walk from my house. Unlike the primary schools, the college is definitely on the outside edge of the town!!
Do you know any Ethiopian constellations or stories about the stars? I am excited that you are learning about stars; the Star Lab was my favorite part of Shannon Park!! When I first arrived in my town, I was sad and surprised to learn that Ethiopian children never learn about the stars or constellations! There are no Ethiopian stories about the stars. The stars are so bright here that you can see almost every constellation clearly! I love to look at them and to teach my friends the different stories. We also make up our own! Right now in our sky Orion and the dog near him are very prominent. The big and little
What do the students do at recess? Students do not have recess because they only are at school for 4 hours before lunch or 4 hours after lunch.
How old are the students in your school? I mainly teach at a College of Teacher Education. My students are 17-23 years old and when they finish 3 years of College they will become elementary school teachers. My second school is an elementary school with grades 1 to 8. The students in 1st grade are usually 6 or 7 and 8th graders are about 15.
What books do the students read? This is a great question with an interesting answer. Unlike in the United States where we read for fun, there is no culture of reading here in Ethiopia. Students only read their textbooks and what their teacher tells them to read. It is sad, but many organizations are trying to encourage kids to find books and read for fun! What are your favorite books that you would suggest to a 3rd grader in Ethiopia?
Do students us paper and pencils? No, students only write in blue pen. Pencils are very rare. They also use small notebooks, one for each subjects.
What are some words and phrases we should know if we were students in an Ethiopian school? Salam no! = Hello! Daihna? = How are you? Chow = Goodbye Misa = Lunch Chawata = Game Timhurt= School Kwas = Ball Escripto = Pen Irsas= Pencil Weraket = Paper Defter = Notebook Tamari = Student Astamari = Teacher
What do the students do for fun when they are not in school? Often, when students are not in school, they have to help their family with chores. There many more chores in Ethiopia than in the US. Many girls have to cook dinner, carry water from the well, care for smaller children, clean the house, or work in the family shop. Boys often have more free time and like to play soccer in the streets. Sometimes kids can rent a movie from a shop in town for 3 birr.
This is a bajaj. This is how we get around town, it is our taxi. I can pay 5 birr ($.25) to go from my house to
This is one of my very favorite foods. Tagabino! It a powder made from dried corn, peas, and chickpeas mixed with water and oil.
These kids are dressed up in their fanciest clothes for a special day. These are Ethiopian traditional clothes.
Have I answered ALL your questions? As always, ask some more!! masseydmarie@gmai l.com Deborah Massey Po Box 7 Injibara, Awi Zone Amhara Region ETHIOPIA
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