Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country, and it’s second largest by population. It has a unique cultural heritage, has served as a symbol of African independence throughout the colonial period, and was a founder of the United Nations.
It is located in the Horn of Africa, bordered by Eritrea to the North/Northeast, Djibouti and Somalia to the East, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south.
Ethiopia is unique among African countries. It is one of the only African countries to have remained independent from colonial rule, except for a short-lived Italian occupancy from 1936-41. Ethiopia’s first multi-party elections were held in 1995. More recently, in February 2018, Abiy Ahmed Ali took office in April 2018 as Ethiopia’s first ethnic Oromo (one of the Ethiopian tribe names) prime minister.
Ethiopia in size is slightly less than twice the size of Texas and has a population of about 108 million people as of July 2018 (est.). Ethiopia is a landlocked country with the climate being described as a tropical monsoon. The area where Blessing the Children is located in a nice 20-25 degree Celsius with the rainy season from June to September.
Ethiopia is predominantly an agricultural country with about 80% of its people living in rural areas. This makes literacy and education in general of the National’s challenging. The literacy rate of Ethiopia, defined as those over 15 who can read and write, is an estimated 49% (2015 est.). With so many parents unable to teach their children to read and write or to help with homework, the literacy of children continues to be a challenge even with the ability to attend school (statistics taken from The World Factbook-Ethiopia).
Unique Ethiopian ‘Did You Know?’
- The First African Black person to win gold at the Olympic games was Ethiopian. His name was Abebe Bikila. He ran the Rome Olympics in 1960 barefoot! He also would go on to win a second gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics of 1964.
- Ethiopia is the only African country to have never been brought under colonial rule. Italy tried a couple of times and failed both times.
- Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is the home to the African Union.
- Ethiopia is home to the Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. This is one of UNESCO’s original heritage sites listed. A sight to see for sure!
- Ethiopia has its very unique time clock! They have a twelve-hour clock that runs from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn. This means that 7 am in Ethiopian time is 1:00 in daylight hours.
- The Ethiopian Calendar has 13 months in it and runs about seven years behind the Gregorian Calendar.
- Ethiopia celebrates its New Year on September 11th.
- There are over 80 languages spoken in Ethiopia according to World Atlas
- Parents and Children do not share their last name. Rather the child takes their Father’s first name as their surname.