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National Geographic Traveller | City life: Addis Ababa

Posted by addisethiopia on May 19, 2017

Lofty and leafy, with ancient sprawling markets and shiny modern skyscrapers, Ethiopia’s capital is a surprise package with a curious past

Four men are approaching at speed, consuming with ease the gradient under their feet offered by Mount Entoto. They’re all wearing the same uniform, the same expression of concentration and focus, and for a second, I wonder if they’re coming for me. But they continue upwards, fluorescent trainers padding the tarmac, exercise tops stretched tight over limbs and torsos. I follow them with my eyes, until they glide around a corner and the eucalyptus treeline claims them, never once slowing their pace as they race towards their futures.

A quartet of slight teenagers, they’re a symbol of Ethiopian aspiration. And they have every reason to be pushing themselves on this 10,500ft peak, which frames Addis Ababa. Long-distance running is firmly established as a route to better things in Ethiopia. The proof lies two miles up the road amid shady paths and tasteful accommodation. Yaya Village opened in 2011 as a mixture of four-star hotel and training camp for athletes seeking to hone their fitness at altitude. It’s partly owned by superstar runner Haile Gebrselassie, the (now retired) Ethiopian master of the marathon, who won two Olympic gold medals and set 27 world records. The young men who overtook me will be dreaming of achieving even a fraction of the glory amassed by a legend who’s considered one of the greatest ever sportsmen, and of taking the tape in New York, Dubai, Sydney and the other major cities where he won.

Just the thought of their relentless stride pattern is enough to snare my breath — although the discernible thinness of the oxygen at this elevation doesn’t help. Two steps behind, my guide Yohannes Assefa giggles. “Come on,” he says. “Just by getting off the plane, you’re seven years younger than you were yesterday. This little hill really shouldn’t be an issue.”

He’s referring to the Ethiopian Calendar, which, by dint of the Orthodox Christian tradition in the country, lags three quarters of a decade behind conventional diaries — 11 September, the next New Year’s Day, will usher in Ethiopia’s version of 2010.

But, this quirk of the clock is not the only unusual thing about Addis Ababa. For one, it’s Africa’s highest capital, floating at 7,700ft in the Ethiopian Highlands (to put this in context, Kathmandu in Himalayan Nepal goes about its day at ‘just’ 4,600ft). This makes for a greenness and coolness of climate at odds with the still prevailing though inaccurate image of Ethiopia, bequeathed by Live Aid and the famine of 1983-1985, as a place of dust and desolation. In fact, the sun keeps its fiercest rays holstered throughout the year, rarely shifting from its groove of 21-23C, and the wet season of June to September contributes to the leafiness by treating Addis to four months of deluge.

Then there’s its age. Addis Ababa is a child, disgorged onto the map as recently as 1886 by the Ethiopian emperor Menelik II, who wanted a capital befitting his status as a ruler of a rapidly expanding domain. Gazing down from Mount Entoto, I can see that this youthfulness translates into another expression of Ethiopian aspiration. Modern structures thrust upper storeys into the sky, sunlight glinting on their windows. At their feet, people mill about — the city’s official population figure is 3.4 million, but the real head count is likely to be much closer to seven million. These residents spill out into the different districts — the central area of Piazza, where museums and churches supply a distinct grandeur; the Downtown core of Urael, with its bars, hotels and clubs; upwardly-mobile Bole, with its priapic towers of desirable apartments; and Merkato, a near-endless sprawl of alleyways where some 13,000 merchants make up Africa’s biggest city market.

This urban jam has been sugared of late by the opening of the Addis Ababa Light Rail. Although funded by Chinese money, the first rapid-transit system in sub-Saharan Africa sings a song of a 21st-century Ethiopia. Its two lines were launched in 2015, dissecting the city east-to-west and north-to-south via 39 stations and 20 miles of track. It has prised 200,000 people a day from the traffic queues — although Bole International Airport, on the south-east edge of the centre, is becoming increasingly equipped to bring in more people. When I pass through its arrivals hall, I’m impressed not just by the size of the new terminal currently taking shape, but by the feast of possible destinations listed on the departures board. London and New York are there. So are Dubai, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Cape Town. Addis Ababa is becoming a hub, and it wants you to know it.

All this makes it a city where you might be tempted to linger, perhaps even for a long weekend. Plenty of travellers visit Ethiopia every year, but few take a good look at its capital, preferring to head out to the rock churches of Lalibela and the UNESCO-listed ancient obelisks of Axum. While this may be understandable, I decide to drag my heels.

Now, there’s every chance that I’m lost. Yohannes and I have delved into the labyrinth of Merkato, and, sure-footed on home soil, he has briefly marched out of sight, leaving me with two feasible turnings and the thought that I’m Alice in a wonderland maze not of clipped hedges, but of many traders and stallholders. These twin paths seem to be stacked with every piece of ephemera you could imagine. There are discarded car batteries and remote controls divorced from their televisions. There are yellow plastic cans, which once contained cooking oil. There are various screws, bolts, nuts and second-hand padlocks. There are sheets of salvaged corrugated metal, fearsomely sharp at the edges, carried on tops of heads, forcing passers-by to duck unless they want to lose theirs.

Then comes the voice. “You’re British, yes?” There’s an irony to the fact that the man making the enquiry is wearing a fake Arsenal football shirt, but I nod in response. “I think there’s nothing for you here,” he says. It’s not a hostile comment; it’s even delivered with a smile. It’s more an acknowledgement that this four square mile tribute to the idea of one person’s trash being his neighbour’s treasure isn’t meant for tourists. He clinks together two of the empty glass soda bottles he sells as water carriers, and grins again. “This is not Marrakech,” he says. “You’ll not buy pricey bracelets and carpets here.”

He’s correct. There’s nothing for tourists in Merkato. And yet, in another sense, there’s everything: a glimpse of how Addis Ababa’s economy has worked for decades — nothing is without value — is as worthy as any souvenir. I ask him, in curiosity, how much his bottles cost. He smiles again, still friendly, but the meaning is clear: ‘Don’t waste my time.’

Local Specialities

If Merkato is Addis Ababa at any moment since 1886, Urael is rather more tied to 2017. There’s an upbeat vibe to both Mickey Leland Street and Namibia Street, watering holes anticipating the evening. A crowd is forming outside cocktail haven Shebeta Lounge as I amble the former — but I’m aiming for the latter, specifically 2000 Habesha Cultural Restaurant, a whirling dervish of a place. Inside, an international clientele — local diners, European expats, a set of Somali businessmen — is seated around tables, listening to the house band plucking rhythms and harmonies from their one-string, bass-like masinko and five-stringed kirar instruments. The menu offers an array of Ethiopian dishes, including gomen besiga (cubes of beef and spinach, baked in a clay pot) and bozena shiro (yellow peas slow-cooked with beef and onions). The atmosphere is fuelled by carafes of tej, Ethiopian honey wine, its bittersweet taste serving to disguise its potency. By the time I dash to the Ghion Hotel, seeking a performance by Mulatu Astatke, the 73-year-old musician who’s seen as the father of ‘Ethio-Jazz’, the night has taken on a woozy quality. The music that emerges from this darkened room— echoes of New Orleans, but with a rumbling beat that’s entirely African — enhances the mood, and the air seems to thicken with each key change.

In such a context, it’s hard to imagine Addis Ababa as a city squashed under jackboots. But its happy mood conceals a 20th century pockmarked by despair. The famine that sent rock stars scurrying to Wembley Stadium in 1985 was caused, in part, by the brutality and administrative incompetence of the Derg — the Soviet Union-backed military dictatorship which ‘ran’ Ethiopia between 1974 and 1991. This oppression was but a delayed second course to a vicious starter: the six years (1935-1941) when Ethiopia (then known as Abyssinia) was occupied by fascist Italy, and Addis Ababa, as the centrepoint of resistance, suffered the brunt of Mussolini’s anger.

Both epochs can be revisited here. The former is detailed at the Red Terror Martyrs’ Memorial Museum in central Kirkos, which replays the nightmare with grim precision via the torture instruments, dusty coffins and photos of some of the regime’s half-a-million victims. The latter is kept alive via two memorials: Yekatit 12 Square is host to a column which salutes the estimated 30,000 Ethiopians who were massacred by their conquerors on 19 February 1937, in response to a failed assassination attempt on the Italian leader Rodolfo Graziani; while, just over a mile away on the edge of Piazza — on a roundabout on Fitawrari Gebeyebu Street — a giant statue remembers the sacrifice of Abune Petros, a bishop who was executed by the occupiers in 1936 for publicly and repeatedly denouncing their presence.

Yet, if you wish to step back into Addis Ababa’s story, you cannot do so without encountering one particular character. Emperor Haile Selassie defined Ethiopia’s 20th century, governing from 1930 to 1974 (with the exception of a five-year exile during the Italian fascist period). While he was arguably no saint, he was charismatic to the point of inspiring religious devotion — the Rastafari movement in Jamaica still considers him a messiah. And he left his imprint on the city. His palace (in Piazza) is now marooned on the campus of Addis Ababa University and has been refitted as the Ethnographic Museum. But amid some intriguing artefacts, including art depicting Ethiopia’s first fight with Italian colonialism, the victorious Battle of Adwa in 1896, you can detect the grandeur. Selassie’s bedroom is preserved as a statement of majesty, even if the size of the bed betrays his lack of stature.

He also haunts the National Museum, just to the south — his colossal throne another emblem of royal power. It’s mighty enough to almost eclipse the prime exhibit, the skeletal remains of ‘Lucy’, a woman who strode the Ethiopian landscape 3.2 million years ago, as one of the mothers of mankind. She was discovered in a lake bed in 1974, a great year for humanity’s knowledge of its roots, but a bad one for Selassie, who was deposed by the Derg amid soaring inflation and unrest. His demise was unseemly. He was imprisoned, then reportedly died of ‘respiratory failure’ in August 1975, according to state media of the day. It wasn’t until 1992 that his bones were found below a concrete slab in the palace grounds.

Still, Selassie had the last laugh: he was re-buried with much pomp in November 2000 at Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Orthodox bastion he founded in 1931. Athletes stream past the gates as I near it; again, all sweat and application, oblivious to the magnificence of the building behind the fence. But, Ethiopia’s imperialists, you can be certain, are not. Their fallen champion slumbers in style within; his mausoleum an enormous exercise in cold marble.

Before I cross the threshold, I’m drawn to one particular grave outside. Here’s another Addis Ababa idiosyncrasy. The headstone serenades the soul of Sylvia Pankhurst, the suffragette and friend of Selassie’s, who moved to the city in 1956 and died there four years later. Clearly, my interest in her once again denotes me as British, for I’m approached by an elderly worshipper. We swap strands of conversation, until he drops the pertinent question: “So, Brexit — is it fine for you, or not?” When the UK’s current political affairs are a topic for discussion in a country once the subject of world concern, you know times have changed.



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World Cities With The Best Quality Of Life In The World 2017

Posted by addisethiopia on March 20, 2017

Every year Mercer, one of the world’s largest HR consultancy firms, releases its Quality of Living Index, which looks at which cities provide the best quality of life.

The ranking is one of the most comprehensive of its kind and is carried out annually to help multinational companies and other employers to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments, according to Mercer.

London and New York do not make it anywhere near the top of the list.

Looking at 450 cities across the world, Mercer takes into account the following metrics to judge which cities made the list for the best quality of life:

  • Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement)
  • Economic environment (currency-exchange regulations, banking services)
  • Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom)
  • Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution)
  • Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools)
  • Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion)
  • Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure)
  • Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars)
  • Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services)
  • Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

Mercer made a list of 230 countries

Vienna tops Mercer’s 19th quality of living ranking

Infrastructure is pivotal in determining quality of living for expats and cities

Vienna ranks highest for quality of living for the 8th year in a row

Singapore ranks first for city infrastructure. UK’s highest ranked city, London, ranks 40th for quality of living, 6th for infrastructure

Despite increased political and financial volatility in Europe, many of its cities offer the world’s highest quality of living and remain attractive destinations for expanding business operations and sending expatriates on assignment, according to Mercer’s 19th annual Quality of Living survey. City infrastructure, ranked separately this year, plays an important role when multinationals decide where to establish locations abroad and send expatriate workers. Easy access to transportation, reliable electricity, and drinkable water are all important considerations when determining hardship allowances based on differences between a given assignee’s home and host locations.

Economic instability, social unrest, and growing political upheaval all add to the complex challenge multinational companies face when analysing quality of living for their expatriate workforce,” said Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s Career business. “For multinationals and governments it is vital to have quality of living information that is accurate, detailed, and reliable. It not only enables these employers to compensate employees appropriately, but it also provides a planning benchmark and insights into the often-sensitive operational environment that surrounds their workforce.

In uncertain times, organisations that plan to establish themselves and send staff to a new location should ensure they get a complete picture of the city, including its viability as a business location and its attractiveness to key talent,” Mr Bonic added.

Vienna occupies first place for overall quality of living for the 8th year running, with the rest of the top-ten list mostly filled by European cities: Zurich is in second place, with Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8), Copenhagen (9), and Basel, a newcomer to the list, in 10th place. The only non-European cities in the top ten are Auckland (3) and Vancouver (5). The highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America are Singapore (25) and Montevideo (79), respectively.

Mercer’s survey also includes a city infrastructure ranking that assesses each city’s supply of electricity, drinking water, telephone and mail services, and public transportation as well as traffic congestion and the range of international flights available from local airports. Singapore tops the city infrastructure ranking, followed by Frankfurt and Munich both in 2nd place. Baghdad (230) and Port au Prince (231) rank last for city infrastructure.

Mercer’s authoritative survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive and is conducted annually to enable multinational companies and other organisations to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. In addition to valuable data, Mercer’s Quality of Living surveys provide hardship premium recommendations for over 450 cities throughout the world; this year’s ranking includes 231 of these cities.

The success of foreign assignments is influenced by issues such as ease of travel and communication, sanitation standards, personal safety, and access to public services,” said Slagin Parakatil, Principal at Mercer and responsible for its quality of living research. “Multinational companies need accurate and timely information to help calculate fair and consistent expatriate compensation – a real challenge in locations with a compromised quality of living.”

Mr Parakatil added, “A city’s infrastructure, or rather the lack thereof, can considerably affect the quality of living that expatriates and their families experience on a daily basis. Access to a variety of transport options, being connected locally and internationally, and access to electricity and drinkable water are among the essential needs of expatriates arriving in a new location on assignment. A well-developed infrastructure can also be a key competitive advantage for cities and municipalities trying to attract multinational companies, talent, and foreign investments.” 


Even with political and economic turbulence, Western European cities continue to enjoy some of the highest quality of living worldwide. Still in the top spot, Vienna is followed by Zurich (2), Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8), Copenhagen (9), and a newcomer to the list, Basel (10). In 69th place, Prague is the highest ranking city in Central and Eastern Europe, followed by Ljubljana (76) and Budapest (78). Most European cities remained stable in the ranking, with the exception of Brussels (27), dropping six places because of terrorism-related security issues, and Rome (57), down four places due to its waste-removal issues. Finally, Istanbul fell from 122nd to 133rd place as a result of the severe political turmoil in Turkey during the past year. The lowest ranking cities in Europe are St. Petersburg and Tirana (both ranked 176), along with Minsk (189).

Western European cities also hold most of the top ten places in the city infrastructure ranking with Frankfurt and Munich jointly ranking 2nd worldwide, followed by Copenhagen (4) and Dusseldorf (5). London is in 6th place, and Hamburg and Zurich both rank 9th. Ranking lowest across Europe are Sarajevo (171) and Tirana (188).

Cities that rank high in the city infrastructure list provide a combination of top-notch local and international airport facilities, varied and extended coverage through their local transportation networks, and innovative solutions such as smart technology and alternative energy,” said Mr Parakatil. “Most cities now align variety, reliability, technology, and sustainability when designing infrastructure for the future.”


In North America, Canadian cities take the top positions in the ranking. Vancouver (5) is again the region’s highest ranking city for quality of living. Toronto and Ottawa follow in 16th and 18th place respectively, whereas San Francisco (29) is the highest ranking US city, followed by Boston (35), Honolulu (36), New York (44), and Seattle (45). High crime rates in Los Angeles (58) and Chicago (47) resulted in these cities dropping nine and four places respectively. Monterrey (110) is the highest ranking city in Mexico, while the country’s capital, Mexico City, stands in 128th position. In South America, Montevideo (79) ranks highest for quality of living, followed by Buenos Aires (93) and Santiago (95). La Paz (157) and Caracas (189) are the lowest ranking cities in the region.

For city infrastructure, Vancouver (in 9th place) also ranks highest in the region. It is followed by Atlanta and Montreal, tied in 14th place. Overall, the infrastructure of cities in Canada and the United States is of a high standard, including the airport and bus connectivity, the availability of clean drinking water, and the reliability of electricity supplies. Traffic congestion is a concern in cities throughout the whole region. Tegucigalpa (208) and Port-au-Prince (231) have the lowest scores for city infrastructure in North America. In 84th place, Santiago is the highest ranking South American city for infrastructure; La Paz (168) is the lowest.


Singapore (25) remains the highest ranking city in the Asia-Pacific region, where there is great disparity in quality of living; Dushanbe (215) in Tajikistan ranks lowest. In Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur (86) follows Singapore; other key cities include Bangkok (131), Manila (135), and Jakarta (143). Five Japanese cities top the ranking for East Asia: Tokyo (47), Kobe (50), Yokohama (51), Osaka (60), and Nagoya (63). Other notable cities in Asia include Hong Kong (71), Seoul (76), Taipei (85), Shanghai (102), and Beijing (119). There is also considerable regional variation in the city infrastructure ranking. The highest-ranked city is Singapore (1), whereas Dhaka (214) is near the bottom of the list.

New Zealand and Australia continue to rank highly in quality of living: Auckland (3), Sydney (10), Wellington (15), and Melbourne (16) all remain in the top 20. However, when ranked for infrastructure, only Sydney (8) makes the top ten, with Perth (32), Melbourne (34), and Brisbane (37) also ranking well for infrastructure in Oceania. By and large, cities in Oceania enjoy good quality of living, though criteria such as airport connectivity and traffic congestion are among the factors that see them ranked lower in terms of city infrastructure.

Middle East and Africa

Dubai (74) continues to rank highest for quality of living across Africa and the Middle East, rising one position in this year’s ranking, followed closely by Abu Dhabi (79), which climbed three spots. Sana’a (229) in Yemen, Bangui (230) in the Central African Republic, and Baghdad (231) in Iraq are the region’s three lowest-ranked cities for quality of living.

Dubai also ranks highest for infrastructure in 51st place. Only five other cities in this region make the top 100, including Tel Aviv (56), Abu Dhabi (67), Port Louis (94), Muscat (97), and upcoming host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Doha in Qatar, which ranks 96th for infrastructure. Cities in African and Middle Eastern countries dominate the bottom half of the table for infrastructure, with Brazzaville (228) in the Republic of the Congo, Sana’a (229), and Baghdad (230) ranking the lowest.

Notes to Editors

Mercer produces worldwide quality-of-living rankings annually from its Worldwide Quality of Living Surveys. Individual reports are produced for each city surveyed. Moreover, comparative quality-of-living indexes between a base city and host city are available, as are multiple-city comparisons. Details are available from Mercer Client Services in Warsaw, at +48 22 434 5383 or at

The data was largely analysed between September and November 2016, and it will be updated regularly to account for changing circumstances. In particular, the assessments will be revised to reflect significant political, economic, and environmental developments.The list of rankings is provided to media for reference, and should not be published in full. The top 10 and bottom 10 cities in either list may be reproduced in a table.

The information and data obtained through the Quality of Living reports are for information purposes only and are intended for use by multinational organisations, government agencies, and municipalities. They are not designed or intended for use as the basis for foreign investment or tourism. In no event will Mercer be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance of the results obtained through the use of, or the information or data contained in, the reports. While the reports have been prepared based upon sources, information, and systems believed to be reliable and accurate, they are provided on an “as-is” basis, and Mercer accepts no responsibility/liability for the validity/accuracy (or otherwise) of the resources/data used to compile the reports. Mercer and its affiliates make no representations or warranties with respect to the reports, and disclaim all express, implied and statutory warranties of any kind, including, representations and implied warranties of quality, accuracy, timeliness, completeness, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.

Expatriates in Difficult Locations: Determining Appropriate Allowances and Incentives

Companies need to determine expatriate compensation packages rationally, consistently, and systematically using reliable data. Providing incentives to reward and recognise the effort that employees and their families make when taking on international assignments remains a typical practice, particularly for difficult locations.

Two common incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium:

§ A quality-of-living or “hardship” allowance compensates for a decrease in the quality of living between home and host locations.

§ A mobility premium simply compensates for the inconvenience of being uprooted and having to work in another country.

A quality-of-living allowance is typically location-related, while a mobility premium is usually independent of the host location. Some multinational companies combine these premiums, but the vast majority provides them separately.

Quality of Living: City Benchmarking

Mercer also helps municipalities to assess factors that can improve their quality of living rankings. In a global environment, employers have many choices about where to deploy their mobile employees and set up new business. A city’s quality of living can be an important variable for employers to consider.

Leaders in many cities want to understand the specific factors that affect their residents’ quality of living and address those issues that lower a city’s overall quality-of-living ranking. Mercer advises municipalities by using a holistic approach that addresses the goals of progressing towards excellence and attracting both multinational companies and globally mobile talent by improving the elements that are measured in its Quality of Living survey.

Mercer Hardship Allowance Recommendations

Mercer evaluates local living conditions in more than 450 cities surveyed worldwide. Living conditions are analysed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories:

1. Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc.).

2. Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services).

3. Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom).

4. Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc.).

5. Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools).

6. Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion, etc.).

7. Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc.).

8. Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc.).

9. Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services).

10. Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters).

The scores attributed to each factor, which are weighted to reflect their importance to expatriates, permit objective city-to-city comparisons. The result is a quality of living index that compares relative differences between any two locations evaluated. For the indices to be used effectively, Mercer has created a grid that enables users to link the resulting index to a quality of living allowance amount by recommending a percentage value in relation to the index.

My Note: I’m certain Addis Abeba would land in the top 10, if they took into account the metrics of Spiritual Life, Air Quality (Altitude + Sun, Light), Food Quality (Organic vs. Chemicals). Two days ago, I learned that a remote tribe living deep in the Amazon (Bolivia) is found to have the healthiest arteries ever studied. Does this tell us about quality of life? Do “rich” Northern Nations have enough money to paint their skies this BLUE?


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Statue Of Jesus Only Thing Left Standing In House Burned By Tennessee Wildfire

Posted by addisethiopia on December 1, 2016


The pictures coming out of the Gatlinburg, Tennessee, wildfires are just devastating. Acres of woodland blackened. Row upon row of homes and businesses reduced to ashes.

But a TV crew with CNN affiliate WVLT spotted something of a miracle amid all that destruction. On Wednesday, reporter Kelsey Leyrer and her team captured footage of what they saw at a house out in Sevier County. It was a statue of Jesus — covered with soot and ashes, but still standing. It was the only thing left after the home burned to the ground.

The Jesus statue was the second religious item this week that survived the wildfires. Earlier this week Isaac McCord, an employee at the Dollywood theme park, says he found a partially burned page from the Bible’s book of Joel. The part of the passage that’s readable, from Joel’s first chapter reads, “O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.”

McCord immediately took a picture of what he’d found and posted it to Facebook, where it’s been shared tens of thousands of times. Many commenters took it as a sign from God.

It provides hope and faith,” McCord said. “That’s why I shared it.”

At least seven people have lost their lives in the wildfires that have ravaged Sevier County and Gatlinburg this week.


Dollywood Employee Finds Burned Bible Page After Wildfires

joel1The day after wildfires tore through Gatlinburg,Tenn., destroying more than 150 structures, killing at least three people and displacing thousands, Isaac McCord was doing his part to help out, picking up debris from the Dollywood park grounds.

Gripping his rake, he revisited a spot in Craftsman Valley he had skimmed over after his co-worker, Misty Carver, quipped, “Is that how you clean your room?” Provoked, he said he had started “really getting in the nooks and crannies” under a park bench when he caught a glimpse of a piece of paper lying in a puddle of water — soggy, seared and torn in two.

McCord, a University of Tennessee alumnus who now works as a human resources training coordinator at Dollywood, said he had no idea what the paper would read, but considering the circumstances, he was curious enough to pick it up.

“As soon as I got down on the ground, I noticed it was a Bible verse, and I was like holy crap,” McCord said in a phone interview on Tuesday night. “It was in a puddle of water. I said, ‘I want to take care of this the best way I can,’ so I gently scooped it up and carried it out the best I could.”

McCord, 24, sat on the bench where he found the paper, and called Carver over. Their work partners, Dollywood wardrobe manager Angela Davis and employee Kimberly Moore, had left to go to the restroom, McCord said.

In silence, the pair pored over the page, the edges of which were burned black, rendering many words illegible. But parts of the right side of the page were preserved enough to get the message across: it perfectly reflected, McCord said, the tragic natural disaster that had thrust Gatlinburg and Sevier County into the national spotlight the night before.

“O Lord, to thee will I cry: For the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field,” the page reads, according to a picture of the page posted on McCord’s Facebook.

At first, we didn’t know what part of the book it was from,” McCord said on Tuesday night, “but we saw bits and pieces about fire and scorching the land, and how the beast groaned and roared for help.”

The page appears to be from the first chapter of Joel from the King James version of the Bible.

“We were like this is unreal, this is unbelievable,” McCord said. “When we had both fully read it, we looked at each other — and I will never forget this moment — we both burst into tears. I was ghost white, and we just prayed. There was nothing else to do.. Still to this moment, almost four hours after the fact, I don’t have words for it.”

McCord wasn’t a highly religious man prior to his discovery — he didn’t go to church every Sunday or read the Bible often — but he said he has a relationship with God that shapes his morals and how he treats other people. He was impacted by the discovery because he said he knows several co-workers who lost their homes in the chaotic blaze. He intends to frame the Bible page, and now, he said he may re-examine the role religion plays in his life.

McCord said he knows people may doubt the truthfulness of his story. He emphasized he is not an official spokesman for Dollywood, and he does not speak on behalf of the park or its employees. He just wanted to share the story to give people hope.

“I wanted to share this message because it brought me to tears. I wanted to share this message because I think that faith and hope is very powerful in a situation like this. There are hundreds of people that are displaced and that have lost their homes. Most of these people will cling to faith. By no means was I trying to get social recognition. … I would say to anyone who wants to call it fake, call me. Please call me. It is something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”


My Note: A Statue of Jesus similar to the one seen in the above image was revealed in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, September 26, 2016 during the Feast of the Holy Cross Bonfire – at annual Demera (Meskel) Celebration. Watch the testimony on the videos: Our Lord is everywhere for those who have eyes to see. This is amazing, I’ve got holy tears in my eyes when I saw that image, very heartwarming. Thank You Lord!

And…poor guy on the next video, but Our Lord Egziahbher is The Lion of Judah — Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help!

Horrifying Moment Animal Tamer Islam Shaheen Is Fatally Savaged By A Lion In Front Of Screaming Audience At Egyptian Circus

  • Trainer Islam Shaheen, 35, was filmed motioning at a lion with a stick
  • However, another lion comes into view and launches a savage attack
  • Trainer’s companions tried to help but he died later in hospital



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Ethiopia: Reasons to Visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral

Posted by addisethiopia on August 1, 2016

Many may think there is not much to visit at the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Well I used to think like that too before I saw a set of tourists in a van entering into the cathedral this week. I stopped by to see what important things they were about to visit there.

“It is my first time and am so thrilled to see the tomb of Haile Selassie I, one of the most influential kings in African History!” said a tourist from France named Mariana, a 52 years old lady. She and her friends came to see Axum, Lalibela and other top tourist sites of Ethiopia but caught up in visiting the cathedral.

“It is a very interesting place. It tells history” said another tourist from Germany named Marque, 34, after visiting the museum. The museum is home for the royal crowns, robes, jewels, ornaments, dressings, and other utensils that are made of golds silver and fancy stones of the late royal family.

Getenet Teshome, an elderly man, with a deep knowledge of history serves at the cathedral as a guide. He gives detailed and vivid explanations about the cathedral and the then history of Ethiopia to visitors.

According to him, Haile Selassie I takes the major credit for Ethiopia’s first written constitution in 1931 which proclaimed all Ethiopians equal and united under one law and one emperor. Haile Sellasie also created a two-chamber parliament with a popularly elected lower house. And the traditional church law was supplanted by the country’s first legal code, and all children born to slaves were eventually freed.

Among the marvelous paintings and sculptures of the inside wall of the cathedral, there is a painting which shows the majesty’s speech in Geneva, Switzerland about his denouncing statements on the invasion of his country by Italy in 1936. Haile Selassie stood out as an international statesman. His leadership in the subsequent Pan-African movement was rewarded by the Organization of African Unity.

The two tombs hold the remains of the king of kings Haile Selassie I and his queen Menen Asfaw put to rest in 1993. The museum also holds the royal seat, ten pillars with ten commandments written on them, paintings of archangels, doomsday and what have you! There are many things that attract attention inside the cathedral.

Also the tomb has important figures, which resembles the ancient civilization bases of Axum at the top, Lalibela in the middle and lion of Judah at the bottom.

The church was started first in 1924 E.C and disrupted following the war with Italy. It was called off and then finished later on 1936 E.C

Beside the cathedral there is a museum that holds, among others, an early huge parchment bible made of horses and oxen skin which is locally called Brana.

According to Negash Tekele Tsadik, a curator at the museum, the manuscripts are dozens decades old and are different from other manuscripts by their size. The parchment bibles leave you with questions like “How did they make it?” ” How did they craft the words carefully at that time when there was no means for printing?” ” How long did it take them to finish this big sized pages ?”

Other things to see in the museum are the royal seats of Haile Sellasie, Menen and Emperor Menilk made of ebony and ivory, materials they were served with, war troops wear, blades and extra.

Foreign tourists are not the only ones who visit this touristic place. Ethiopians often pay a visit too. Arsema Bekele is a student at the Addis Abeba University. She told me that she spent her summer time heading to libraries and visiting museums. The cathedral wasn’t on her list but she told me “I wonder what took me so long to visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral. But my life has changed because of it. Especially when I saw the tombs of all renowned patriots, artist, authors, politicians, leaders , ministers, scientists, popes and the life they had and the contribution they made I felt inspired to restart my life and do something for my country.”



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ታሪካዊው የአዲስ አበባ ቀላል ባቡር የመጀመሪያዎቹ ቀናት

Posted by addisethiopia on October 19, 2015


በባቡሩ መመረቂያ ዕለት ብዙ የሚያዝናኑ እና የሚያስገርሙ ነገሮችን ለመታዘብ በቅቼ ነበር፤ ቪዲዎቹን እንመልከት፤ ድምጾቹንም እናዳምጥ፤ በእውነት ታሪካዊ የሆነ ቆይታ ነበረኝ።

3:00 ደቂቃ ላይ፤ በለው! በለው! በለው! (..) በሳቅ ሞትኩ፤ ግን አያስቅም፤ ወንድማችን ላይ ቶሎ የፈረዱበት መሰለኝ።

ኧረግ! ኧረግ! ኧረግ!” አሉ አቶ ሀይሉ….ደጋግማ እንዲህ አለችኝ፡ “ዋዋዋ! እኔን……” እንዲህ ነው እንዴ የሴት ፖሊሶች የሚጠብሱት?’… እህታችን ፈገግታውን አመጣችብኝ።

በርግጥ ይህን መሰሉ የማመላለሻ ዘይቤ በአዲስ አበባችን መዘርጋቱ ከጥቂት ዓመታት በፊት የማናስበው ነበር፤ በእውነት በጣም የሚደነቅ ነው። በጥራታቸው ላይ አሁን ለመፍረድ ባይቻልም፡ የማይነቃነቁት ባቡሮች ከፍተኛ ምቾት አላቸው። ተጓዡም ቀስ በቀስ እየተለማመዳቸው፡ እንዲሁም ጥንቃቄና ስንሥርዓት በያዘ መልከ እየተንከባከባቸው መሆኑ የሚያበረታታ ነው። ነጭናጫ የመኪና ጩኽትና አደገኛ ጭስ የሚቀነስ ነገር ሁሉ የተባረከ ነው።

አንዳንድ አስፈላጊና መስተካከል ካለባቸው ነገሮች መካከል፤

1. የባቡሩ ነጂዎች ሁሉም ቻይናውያን ናቸው፤ ይህ ቶሎ መለወጥ አለበት። በሰማይ የሚሂዱትን ጠያራዎች ለዘመናት ማብረር የበቁ ኢትዮጵያውያን የምድሩን ባቡር በፍጥነት ለመረከብ ምንም አይሳናቸውምና

2. ቀጣዩን መውረጃ በኮምፒውተር ድምጽ አማካይነት የሚያስተዋውቁት ሴቶች፤ ቪዲዮው ላይ እንደሚሰማው፤ መጀመሪያ በእንግሊዝኛ ከዚያም በአማርኛ ቁንቋዎች ነው። ይህ ስህተት እንዴት ሊከሰት ቻለ? የትም ሌላ አገር የማይታይ የተሳሳተ ተግባር ነው። ኔው ዮርክ ወይም ለንደን አይደለንም ያለነው፤ ተሳፋሪው 99% ኢትዮጵያዊ ሆኖ ሳለ እንግሊዝኛው ለምን እንዲቀድም ተደረገ? ቅደም ተከተሉ ቶሎ መቀየር ይኖርበታል!


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ተዋናይ ንብረት ገላው፡ “አዲስ ኢየሱስ የለም”

Posted by addisethiopia on October 14, 2015

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ብሩክ መስቀል –- A Blessed ‘Meskel’ Festivity

Posted by addisethiopia on September 24, 2015


“Maskal oder Das Ende der Regenzeit” (Meskal or End of The Rainy Season)

Think of Addis Abeba a century ago. Reading this book by Brigitte Beil I was transported in my mind to this town and I saw the cosmopolitan character of it. People from nations far and near were mingling in this town with imperial status. It reminded me of present day New York or London. Adventurers and professionals, refugees and locals. All in a time of turmoil.

One man we encounter in this lively city is the German architect Carl Haertel. Back home his firm ran into financial problems when his brother left and went to Argentina. At that moment Carl ( in his early fourties) was invited to join a German party to go to Abysinia. Bosch, the man that organized the party, had been asked to get some professionals to work in Addis Abeba. At that time Menelik II is the negus or emperor.

The book ‘Maskal’ is a historical novel. The writer takes up the historical Haertel family that lived in Addis Abeba from 1906 – 1942, separated form each other  during the Great War, when Anna stayed with their three daughters in Germany. When the Italians invaded Abysinia the Haertel family was transported to prisoncamps. Carl died in 1941 in Dire Darwa. His wife and children were transported to Mandera, next Berbera and by ship to Triest (Italy).

During the years in Addis Abeba Carl Haertel worked as an architect for the emperial family and for private individuals. He built the mausoleum for Menelik II and many more buildings (among them the building for the German embassy). His wife Anna had close relations with the wife of the later negus Haile Selassie. She even accompanied her on her epic journey to the Near East. When Haile Selassi returned to Ethiopia after his exile the relation with the Haertel family had cooled down.

Brigitte Beil reveived information from a grandson of Carl and Anna Haertel. She wove this into a story with the general history of Abyssinia and the character of Katrina, the granddaughter of Eva, the third daughter of the family. Katrina discovers in the house an old cardboard box with old pictures and notes. She talks about it with her grandmother and Eva tells about the hidden history of her family, her own hidden family.

MeskalEndeDerRegenyeitIn the book the relations of the imperial family and the Haertel family are on a good footing. There is no sense of colonial disdain (Abysinia was not a colony!). Europeans were in Addis Abeba as long as the leading Abysinians were willing to have them around. Anna in the beginning did some medical work to the benefit of the people around their mud house. Once the family lives in a stone house with a wall, her contacts with the Abysinians are only with the upper class. This sense of class distance is also shown when a young widowed relative comes to stay with the family. She, Lucie, gets to know a local man. This relationship is not appreciated. Lucy is not very keen on participating in the expatriate festivities that abound in town. When her lover dies she is heartbroken and dies as well.

Later, in the present days, Katerina gets  lovingly involved with her Hennoch, her Ethiopian guide in Addis Abeba (a student of architecture, whose grandfather worked for Carl Haertel), and this is not seen as a problem. When Katrina visits Addis Abeba she wants to see the legacy of her great grandfather and she sees the statue of Meneliki, in front of St. George’s Church. She visits the grave of Lucie in Addis Abeba, but in Dire Dawa there is no trace of a grave of her ancestor Carl Haertel. In the end she talks with an Armenian man, Odabassian, nearly a hundred years old, who knew the family. According to this man, one of the few remaning of the many Armenians in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia is different from Africa, it is more related to the Jewish and southern Arabian world. Katrina returns to Germany, but she wants to return, maybe even for the remaining years of her life. In this way she shows the continuing relations beteen Ethiopia and Germany.

Brigitte Beil takes the opportunity to relate the continuing history of the family of the negus Haile Selassie, even when the Hartel family is no longer in Ethiopia. In a way their place was taken by the Pankhurst family (yes, the one of suffragette-fame), that still lives in Ethiopia.

The writer or the translator did something extraordinary to the British writer Evelyn Waugh. This male writer is turned into a female one.

Maskal is the name of an important ecclesiastical feast for the Coptic Church in Ethiopia. It celebrates Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who went to Jerusalem to find the cross on which Jesus Christ hung, when he was executed by the Roman authorities. During this feast the love affair of Lucie starts. It is the very first feast the Haertel ladies witness after their return form Germany, and it was this festive occasion that was the last before the invasion by Italian forces.

I enjoyed reading this book.

Brigitte Beil – Maskal oder Das Ende der Regenzeit – 2003

Reblogged from

I too enjoyed reading the book


Posted in Curiosity, Ethiopia, Faith, Infos | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Nations Around Ethiopia Burning: The Middle East Is In The Middle Of A Horrific Heat Wave

Posted by addisethiopia on August 1, 2015

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven[a] and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.[Revelation 20:7-10]


165 degrees is a temperature at which you might consider setting your oven. It’s the safe minimum cooking temperature for any number of foods. And it’s also what the air felt like today in Bandar Mahshahr, Iran.

The heat index there reached the stunning height of 165 degrees Fahrenheit a combination of the heat (115 degrees Fahrenheit) with incredibly high humidity levels. The dew point, a measure of the moisture in the air reached 90 degrees, a very unusual and very high number that indicated there was a lot of moisture in the air.

People tend to feel the heat more when there is high humidity because the moisture in the air prevents sweat from evaporating. The evaporation of sweat from the skin helps the body to cool. Without it, humans can feel like it is much hotter than the temperature on the thermometer outside. The National Weather Service says that at a heat index above 125 degrees “heat stroke is very likely”. Earlier this summer, in Pakistan, a heat wave killed over 1,200 people. The temperatures in the Middle East are expected to remain high for the next several days prompting some countries to order mandatory days off in an effort to keep people out of the heat.

The heat index in Bandar Mahshahr is the second highest ever recorded according to the Washington Post. They say the highest was recorded in 2003 in Saudi Arabia, where the heat index reached 178 degrees Fahrenheit.


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Divine Warning? Rainbow Over Addis Abeba Upon President Obama’s Arrival

Posted by addisethiopia on July 26, 2015

2e1131eaaab74f70b81c8931ffbb6945Sodomites are using a flag that desecrates and mocks the beautiful image of the rainbow that signifies the covenant that God made with man never to flood the world again. 

— My previous Post: Stealing The Rainbow

Secret Service Agents watch through their binoculars as a rainbow appears in the sky before President Barack Obama’s arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Image Source: AP


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Addis Abeba’s ‘Hidden’ Parks, Gardens & Green Spots – ጻድቁ አብርሃም

Posted by addisethiopia on June 11, 2015

Most of Addis Abeba’s green spots are literally protected by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. In the middle of the town – amid the hustle and bustle of the big city, the big crowds and cars one would not expect such a beautiful and peaceful spot that actually makes a perfect hillside surrounding for an amazing spiritual experience. The view, the clean air, the quietness – they all give you a truly pleasant 4 dimensional experience.

እናት ቤተክርስቲያናችን የመናፈሻዎቻችን ጠባቂ / ተንከባካቢ ናት!


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