Photo Gallery: Looking Back on One Month in Ethiopia

The month that Liz and I spent in Ethiopia marked a lot of strong positives and negatives. I was yelled at threateningly (twice), and Liz was told that all Americans should go to hell. Boarding a bus first thing in the morning turned out to be an experience akin to the running of the bulls. The habit of having local and faranji (foreigner) prices for everything (food, hotels, transportation, literally… everything) drove us crazy. But then we would meet a kind shopkeeper or group of playful kids, or find ourselves overlooking a dramatically beautiful landscape, and those negative experiences seemed instantly to be countered. Unfortunately, it sometimes took all of our patience and will power to get through the most unpleasant moments and remember the kindness and beauty other people and areas of the country had shown us. Actually, wherever we are in the world, it’s all too easy to let the rudest and meanest representatives of a new place be the loudest speakers in our minds. But because of how strongly I felt this in Ethiopia, I always hesitate when people ask, “so, wasn’t Ethiopia amaaazing?” or “Everyone was really nice there, right?” The answer is yes and no. I’ll probably elaborate further in coming posts, because, at the very least, Ethiopia has given me a lot of stories to tell.

Despite the ups and downs, one thing Ethiopia was consistent in was being beautiful (with, perhaps, the exception of Addis Ababa) and full of visually stunning scenes. Personally, I was also a big fan of the food, but maybe I’m less bothered than most by eating the same thing three times a day. So, in the end, while I may hesitate to sum up the overall amazingness of Ethiopia or general nice-ness level of its people, I won’t hesitate to say I don’t regret going there and I’d enthusiastically encourage others to go there and explore.

But anyways, the purpose of this post is to dazzle you with some of my favorite photos of the trip, so let’s get to it.







{1} Men and women in a church in Bahir Dar
{2} Street scene from above in Harar
{3} Woman preparing coffee for a coffee ceremony in the Simien Mountains
{4} Waiting for the clouds to part at the top of a peak in Simien Mountains
{5} Traditional breakfast food, “ful medames” made of beans and tomatoe and served with bread
{6} Young girl by our campsite in the Simien Mountains

3 thoughts on “Photo Gallery: Looking Back on One Month in Ethiopia

    1. To this anonymous and cowardly commenter who is looking to point his/her finger at anyone foreign, I understand her frustrations. I served and lived in Ethiopia for two and a half years and I love Ethiopia so much that I I am going back, but you NEED to own up to the realities. This country is full of extremes in both the good and bad. I have made family and friends for life here, but this is paralleled by consistently being harassed, ferenji priced, haggled, demanded for money, and even physically attacked; simply because I’m white. And I have talked to older Ethiopians and foreigners who were around 15, 20, 30 years ago and they all have the same observation…… Ethiopia used to not be this way. They say that younger Ethiopians have forgotten their true culture of hospitality and kindness.

      This woman was giving her own honest accounts about her experiences in Ethiopia. Ethiopia prides itself on being one of the top tourist destinations in the world, but do you honestly think the tourism industry in Ethiopia can sustain itself when visiting foreigners are constantly harassed and when they encounter people with attitudes like yours? With individuals like you, why would anyone come back and spend their money in your country?

      I have met many Ethiopians that are far more cordial, understanding and empathetic than you, but it’s the loud and hostile words of individuals like you that ring in foreigners’ ears and create a bad impression of Ethiopia. When her friend is told “All Americans should go to hell,” how would you expect her to feel? You are doing nothing but hurting the image of the beautiful country that it Ethiopia.

      Empathy is needed on the part of both Ethiopians and foreigners. I challenge you to go to a country, like Ukraine or Romania, where you physically stick out and see how people react to you. When you recount the bad experiences, let’s see how you feel when someone from those countries say “Oh look, another pretentious and patronizing African moaning about our country. Ugh!!!!!!” Let’s see how you feel. Go and see what it feels like to be an outsider in a different country before you pass judgment.

      Sorry, your name is “Ethiopiawit”, so you’re female. You must feel like a big woman hiding behind the safety of a computer screen. It is you that is coming across a pretentious. It is you that is coming across as patronizing. I’ve met many like you. Yes, I’ll admit, there are some foreigners who do not present themselves well, but there are many of us who for years try our hardest despite having to fight the stereotypes about Americans. While I made many fiends during my service there were those that no matter how social I was, no matter how polite I was, no matter how well I spoke Tigrigna, no matter how hard I worked, they always had a problem with me because I’m foreign. You remind me of those individuals.

      You’re an embarrassment to Ethiopia. The Ethiopians I know would be ashamed of you.


    2. Oh look, a lazy commenter who didn’t bother to fully read the post and see that I was calling Ethiopia beautiful and just wants something to be angry about.

      If you want people to stop complaining about your country, you’re not going to do so with comments like this. You’re only enforcing a negative stereotype. If you want to challenge my words with more tact and intelligence, I’d be happy to open a discussion.



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