Thursday, January 11, 2007

African Homecoming

It is with many apologies for a prolonged blog absence that I come back online after my East African vacation. Over the past three weeks, I've travelled through Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, making it as far as Zanzibar off the East coast of the continent. Relaxed and with visa, I am back at my desk in the CPAR office in Addis Ababa.

While my trip was a vacation, it got me thinking a lot about Ethiopia's unique development situation in the continent. Never having been colonized, the differences between Addis and somewhere like cosmopolitain Nairobi are immediately apparent. Everything from the prices, the infrastructure, and the goods available had me feeling like I was in a North American suburb. Looking farther, past the material goods and shiny billboards, even the representations of poverty and the attitudes towards foreigners were different in all three countries as compared with Ethiopia. These differences made me realize just how self-directed the action within this country is, with society and government making things up as they go along, rather than taking an example from other nations. Now that I've realized this, I'll try to think about it more, looking for the ways in which Ethiopians are innovating their own futures, both on an individual and societal level.

As the plane touched down at the airport in Addis, I found myself bouncing in my seat, happy to be home.

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