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Ethiopia by E-mail

Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 02:14:11 -0600
From: "James E. Rollin, Ph.D." <rollin@uic.edu>

Hi from Addis,

The weather here is starting to warm up a little.

The semester break is over and we are well under way with the second semester of the new Graduate School of Social Work. We still have 39 students, many of them who have given up a lot, including food to attend the school. Anyone who wants to start a scholarship fund, contact me & I will help you do the paperwork. One student told me that it cost him 500 birr/month to share a space with another student, fix meals, and arrived at school and is not eating well. Tuition works out to about $92 U.S./semester. Books and copying and computer/internet access are about another $50/month for students. About $2,400 U.S. would get a student through the 2 year program. Books and professional journals are valuable resources here and we don't have enough if any of you professionals would like to send journals, we have a group of Ethiopian professions that ship a container every so often from the U.S., contact me and I will put you in contact with them.

We have been looking around for a church and found St. Matthews Anglican Church near the university. We heard about it through word of mouth. There are no yellow pages here and no phone books. It is a nice compound with gardens and the minister lives in the compound. The church is active in the Sudanese refugee community and also works providing a library for the local community.

Gemini Spice Workers I have attached two photos. The first is 2 women pounding spice. They make and sell the spice at Ethiopia Gemini Trust, a British NGO that works with families of twins in the poorest parts of Addis Ababa. The mothers are malnourished and cannot provide enough milk for one let alone 2 babies and there is nothing else in the communities for the babies. The spice is sold under the brand name Spice for a Cause and is sold in the U.S. in some places.

The second photo is a monument in front of the University's main administrative building. The building was once Haile Selassie's Palace and now houses the university president, vice presidents, and the Institute for Ethiopian Studies (and a good anthropological museum). The monument was erected during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia 1935-41. The steps represent each year of the Mussolini/Fascist rule in Italy. In an interesting symbolic act, when the Ethiopian and British forces threw out the Italians in 1941 rather than tearing down the monument, they put a stone lion of Judah on the top. The lion of Judah was the symbol of the monarchy here that claims direct descent from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

Jim Rollin


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