I Love Addis Ababa – New Flower of Ethiopia
Addis Ababa is a place that I did not expect would be what it was like. There is new and old, poor and rich mixed. Not many tourists at all and you don’t feel out of place. People leave you pretty much alone and go about their daily business. They are however keen to help you and very hospitable and kind. Pop into a small local restaurant and you will be well received and maybe even someone will join you to eat. All you have to do is make an invitation. Jazz clubs are everywhere and also small hole-in-the-wall mini nightclubs as well as new flashy discos and outside verandas and upscale fancy places. there are pastry, pasta, pizza as well as local food always served with Injera
On the other hand you see many many homeless people sleeping on the streets or outside churches. I’d advice any traveler to bring clothes you don’t need and give it to a church or directly to the people living outside the churches. Or tell me if you want to know an organizations name. I’ll do a post on that later.
“Addis Ababa is the capital and the largest city of Ethiopia and is currently home to nearly 3 million people. It is located on a well-watered plateau surrounded by hills and mountains, in the geographic center of the country. Only since the late 19th century has Addis been the capital of the Ethiopian state. Its immediate predecessor, Entoto, (See earlier posts) was situated on a high tableland and was found to be unsatisfactory because of extreme cold and an acute shortage of firewood.
Empress Taitu, wife of Emperor Menilek II (reigned 1889-1913), persuaded the emperor to build a house near the hot springs at the foot of the tableland and to grant land in the area to members of the nobility. The city was thus founded in 1889 and was named Addis Ababa meaning ‘New Flower’ in Amharic by the empress” .(read more here: EthiopianMillenium.com)
This is the city as we saw it the day we had the camera with us. It is probably one of the safest big cities in the world. The three of us walked in many different areas day and night. We even walked down completely black streets (bring a flashlight if you are out at night). Although walking alone if you are a woman is as risky as in any big city in the world unfortunately. The pickpockets are skilled and you won’t know they took your wallet until you need it. Armed robbery is unheard of.
These are photos from both the old parts of town called Piazza as well as the main street Churchill Avenue of down town Addis and a few shots from Entoto Avenue or Siidist Kilo area (where many museums and Addis Ababa University (see old post) is located.
For a larger and clearer view just click each photo.
Church of The Holy Trinity
Beer Garden at Bole area
I have to say that the twelve days spent in Addis Ababa has been some of the most beautiful of my life. After a few days the poverty gets to you though and it is hard not to cry, which I did. Then we decided to do something about some of it. Since we packed lite and could bring two pieces of luggage we had brought three boxes of children’s clothes. We gave some to people around our nearest church and gave the rest o an organization which takes care of children with mothers in prison (I’ll do a post on that later).
We also went to a place on Churchill avenue called Hope enterprises. You can buy food coupons very cheap, i think 200 meals for 20 dollars. You give those to old people or people that are ill and they will have a full proper meal at lunch time. Hope enterprises provides 1000 meals a day that way. You can volunteer to help serve food even if it is just for one day. They also have other projects where they run schools and even a University. Now the government wants to make a facelift and rebuild all of Churchill Ave. with new flashy buildings and Hope will have to leave. Where to is yet to be decided.
For the north western part of Addis please check out the older post A walk from behind Abebe Bikila Stadium towards Piazza
For a look into the everyday modern Addis Ababa I suggest this beutiful blog http://michellemuita.wordpress.com/tag/addis-ababa/ by Mendi