From the Media Capital, to the Global Ethiopian Community
Saturday October 16th 2021

Ethiopian Journal

International Development Enterprises equips the world's poorest farmers with the technology and training they need to lift themselves out of extreme poverty.

By Andrew Romanoff, HuffingtonPost: I arrived in Addis Ababa on Saturday night, 23 hours after leaving Denver. The Frankfurt airport now seems as distant as its charm.

This is my third trip to Africa in the last two years, the first since joining International Development Enterprises. IDE equips the world’s poorest farmers with the technology and training they need to lift themselves out of extreme poverty. I came to Ethiopia to meet some of our field staff and the families we serve.

Nearly four million people live in Addis Ababa. That’s not hard to imagine as we make our way from the airport. Cars converge from every direction. The stoplights don’t work, but the horns do. We share the road (if that’s the phrase for such an uneasy truce) with donkeys, horses, goats, rickshaws, taxis, trucks, and pedestrians. After our first adventure in an Addis intersection, I’m the only one who still wants to ride shotgun.

Look up in Addis, and chances are you’ll see a scaffold. On just about every block, a wooden latticework (eucalyptus, mostly) of ladders and walkways sprouts from the side of a building. The construction sites boast pictures of Ethiopia’s future, bright and gleaming: office towers, condominiums, a “School of Tomorrow.” People sleep, unconvinced, on the dusty streets below.

It’s almost midnight by the time I stagger into bed at the Harmony Hotel. A warm breeze ripples the curtains of the window, carrying with it a low, undulating tune: a call to prayer.

The city rumbles to life early the next morning. We leave Addis for the Central Rift Valley, 90 miles to the south. Most of Ethiopia’s 85 million people live in the countryside, subsisting on small patches of farmland. We head for the town of Ziway, passing mud huts with thatched roofs or, in some cases, corrugated iron. Cattle use the same route and occasionally wander across our way, slowly turning their enormous heads to gaze at us without concern.

Our group is too large to avoid attention. Forty of IDE’s trustees, staff and spouses fill three white Toyota vans and an SUV. A pickup truck carries our luggage, piled under a tarp.

The procession draws stares from the farmers and schoolchildren who line the road. The children chase our caravan, laughing and shouting, “You! You!” When we slow down in Ziway, the boldest boys approach the windows. They rub their stomachs, point at their mouths, and then cup their hands in a plea for money. Some peer into the van and ask for a “Highland,” a water bottle they can refill or perhaps resell for a birr… Read the full article @ HuffingtonPost

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