Letter from Ethiopia

Dandew Serbello


Dear readers, or shall I say visitors of "Ethiopia on the Web"? As I am writing this letter to you I also imagine to be reading it from your angle. You can refer to me as Dandew Serbello. This pseudonym may be familiar to some of you if you were listeners to Radio Ethiopia during most of the Dergue regime's reign. It has followed you via the internet. Please welcome Dandew.

As I write this letter, on June 18th, I feel cold and chilly. The sky is dark and pregnant. It has been raining on and off throughout the last two weeks. VOA's daily weather forecast for Addis is a high of 26oc and a rainy day. The Ethiopian weather man gives us world weather forecast on weekends on ETV in general terms for TV watchers who care little. In fact urbanites have started complaining at the early setting of the rainy season as if the good weather in Canada or USA suffices. I hope you will not waste my insinuations embedded in the standing joke that it makes little or no difference whether or not it rains in Ethiopia so long as it does in the US, Canada or Australia.

Talking of rains, I hear that it pours cats and dogs in the hinterland as opposed to the mild showers we in Addis are getting now. Even then, we have reasons for complaints. To begin with the every day sight of street children and their parents taking refuge under plastic sheets, patched up rags and cardboards is tormenting. They have nowhere to go but suffer the consequences and ordeals of the weather. The situation is pathetic.

Thousands of men and women engaged in the informal sector of the economy are also hit - hardest by the torrential rain. They can not display their merchandise out in the open. Forced to cover these with water - proof sheets they abandon business and wait idle under shelter. I and trying to describe what is going on Merkato and at some mini-merkato littering Addis here and there.

The roads and narrow alleys in the capital are having their perennial baths and wild sprinkles of muddy water by reckless cab drivers who give the impression that they enjoy the annual sport. They drive faster and drench their accelerating wheels in dead water and cause havoc splashing the pungent smelling sludge and wastewater on pedestrians.

Many of you could imagine how filthy the cosmopolitan could be by now. Nay you would be surprised to learn that Artist Sileshi Demissie, otherwise known as Gashe Aberrra Molla, a figment project of his own imagination has changed the face of Addis Ababa. My next letter would touch on that a little more in detail if you can bear with me. 

                                                                             yours,

                                                                            Dandew Serbello from Sidist Killo



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