Our Ethiopian social circle

by Andrew Stein

Our group here in Ethiopia is at the same time both quite diverse and strangely homogenous.  The crew that develops on our first day consists of several Ethiopians who have been educated abroad and foreigners, including myself and Kit, the son of the British Ambassador.  When we hit up some of their favorite spots such as the ice cream place, it seems that there is at least one link in every group to every other group.  In other words, this international community is both rather small and very well connected to each other.

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An added benefit of moving around with this group is that our conversations are usually about the past, present, and future of Ethiopia.  For example, we discuss the differences between how they view the country and how their parents thought of it.  We debate how optimistic we all should be about the Ethiopia’s future.  They share stories of parents being imprisoned because they were viewed as intellectual threats to the government in regimes past.  I learn how some troubles arise from how certain business sectors such as cell phones are either government owned or fully monopolized.  In just a few quick days being here in Ethiopia, I feel that I can now sympathize with at least this particular group’s perspectives on the state of the country.