Thursday, January 1, 2009

Remembering past years and welcoming 2009

Ethiopians living abroad just welcomed the year 2009 in our own ways: some at church festivities, others at different parties, some with family and friends, wishing each other the best for the upcoming new year. Looking back, I remind myself of the incredible losses (losing my dad in 2005 and my mom a year later in 2006). The grief of losing beloved parents was not easy to bear. On a personal level, I also thank God for the many blessings that followed.
Family, friends, and faith that keep you strong whether in sadness or happiness and are true blessings to be thankful for throughout the year.

Looking at the big picture, the living conditions of many of our fellow Ethiopians in Ethiopia is very depressing. Year after year, the news is how the poor are getting poorer and the very very few rich are getting richer. As a travel agent, (besides my personal experiences when I visit Ethiopia), I talk to clients who travel back and forth to Ethiopia from the U.S. and almost a majority of them tell me stories of the out of control living costs in Ethiopia . Everything is expensive. Basic necessities cost more than what the majority can afford. Whether it is poor economic planning by the government or just the global recession affecting Ethiopia and Africa in general, the living conditions of the majority of Ethiopians seem to go from bad to worse every year.

My wishes for the coming new year and the years after it for Ethiopia are simple: May it be a country where people can find jobs that enables them to support their families. May it be a country where things are always improving. May it be a country that visitors talk about in a favorable way.

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