Mekdes Haddis – October 28 2021
Mother Ethiopia is a phrase I grew up hearing while living in a place that to me is the most beautiful. Ethiopia is the home of 80 plus tribes and languages and truly unique as she holds a history of three thousand years. She is also a mother to one of the world’s most beloved beverages, COFFEE! Yes, the first coffee bean was discovered in the Keffa region, thus the name coffee, by a shepherd named Kaldi who saw the stamina his goats experienced after eating the “cherry” on the tree. Experts say Ethiopia is the only country that had coffee growing natively, thus why it has the best coffee in the world. Our Coffee ceremonies have been the backbone of our community building and the way we have managed to preserve our oral history.
As the only country in Africa that hasn’t been colonized, Ethiopia has managed to preserve not only her unfiltered history but also her own alphabet, numerical and calendar systems. For example, it is the year 2014 in Ethiopia and we pride ourselves in having 13 months of sunshine. Thirteen is not a typo. The last month happens to have five days, except for each leap year when it becomes six days. Imagine being born on the last day of the last month in a leap year — you may not have a birthday for 4 more years. That simply is a great representation of how Ethiopia marches to the beat of her own drum.
As one of the ancient christian countries in the world, Ethiopia is the home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church that is credited for embedding hospitality within the culture, which has made being Ethiopian synonymous with being hospitable. Ethiopia has many traits, but perhaps the most important one is the stories of strong women that have shown their strength and vulnerability all together.
One of the unique blessings I had as a little girl was being surrounded by strong women all around me. There was no shortage of female heroines to look up to. Leaders such as Empress Taytu Betul, who was instrumental in defending Ethiopia’s sovereignty from colonizers or Empress Zewditu who was the only female head of an African country. Their stories are told and retold as part of our history. The ability to trace my identity as a woman through my history has played a great role in who I’ve become today. There is a sense of freedom that comes when women are recognized for their contribution and honored for it and it allows us to become the women God has meant for us to be — not a different version of men.
Today Ethiopia is a sovereign state which is working towards economic independence that aims at attracting the Black diaspora to invest and move back to Africa. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which has started operation will not only provide hydroelectric power for Ethiopia but to neighboring countries. Ethiopia is the second populous country in Africa after Nigeria and has the fastest growing economy in the continent. Addis Ababa houses the African Union which allows for African solutions to be developed for African problems. Ethiopia is often described as the mother of African independence, and rightfully so, she remains to be a beacon of hope.