Monthly Archives: December 2012

An Open Letter to my Grandfather: Dear Ababa, I’m Coming Home


This is an open letter to my Grandfather, his name is Tadesse but we all called him Ababa, which is Amharic for grandpa. He passed away a week before Christmas, two years ago.He was my best friend and my favorite person in the world. I am returning to Ethiopia after thirteen years of being away, I have worked very hard to see my country again. This is a very special moment in my life, one that I feel is vital for me to complete my childhood and transition into a woman. When I think of Ethiopia my grandfather is the first one that comes to my mind, I loved him so much, so why not write a letter to him and share it with you all. From my heart to yours, I give you Dear, Ababa I’m Coming Home.

Please refer to the list of words I marked with * to see their English translation.


Dear Ababa,
I’m coming home. Who knew i could speak to you again after you passed, I guess the tragedy of death is relative to those who believe life stops after it occurs. I miss you, did I mention that. I know you come and visit me in dreams and I appreciate it, my grandfather, the lion, the Ambessa*, the intellect, the only one who I believe always made sense in the family. And you still do, this is why I am writing you this letter Ababa*, I’m coming home and I want you to be the first to know how I feel, how nervous I am, I am coming home. I’m coming home? I’m coming home, I’m finally coming home to Ethiopia.

First, let me tell you I remember many things. From the last words our neighbor spoke to me, “make sure you eat a lot of sweet patotoes in Kenya” to the roses Emaye* watered in her garden. I remember the bridge in Gola Micheal* , the one that was always “under construction” and my sister and I always had to cross under it, skipping from rock to rock, to get to our school. I remember the Paste* with Shai* that Emaye used to give us, I remember Lemlem who took care of us, I even remember our beloved Eritrean neighbors who were forced out their homes but before, who I played endless hours of foot ball with. I remember the way our home looked, separated rooms with the mad bate* being the place to be since all of our food was prepared there. I remember eating exactly three times a day, being thankful for every bite I took, competing with everyone for gurshas* and then going to my bestfriends house to see if I can compete with her family too. I remember the crisp air of Addis Abeba, the merkato market place, how if I had 25 cents I could buy bananas and if I was really lucky, I had double the amount to buy one for Mimi by bestfriend. I especially remember Beta Christian, our church. I remember going every morning with an empty jug so I can bring you sebel, holy water, so your eye sight could be better. But even with an impaired vision, you always saw me as clear as the sun shine filled days in Addis. Ababa, don’t think I forgot the peanuts you used to bring me from your days out at the park, or the piggy back rides i used to give you, you thanked me so much I thought I was super girl, to this day you make me feel super.

Yes, I remember many things, small and big, I have pictures, films in my head of what I left behind, of what I have carried with me all of these years in America. But Ababa, I am nervous to return. I am so scared that I’ll be a stranger in my own home. I am nervous that the language and culture has evolved with out me and I am scared that I am going to judge the conditions that I was born in. You see, I am an American just as much as I am an Ethiopian now. I have went to school in America, befriended American people, live an American lifestyle and pledged to the American Flag. Can I be both? I feel like I am both. I am nervous but anxious to see how these two identities will affect my experience in my country.

Besides having adapted an additional nationality, I am also educated now, you would be so proud if you were alive. You always told mommy to do whatever she had to do to send us to school, and you should be proud of her, she did. She worked multiple jobs and raised us all by her self and took care of us, just as you took care of her, she is a woman version of you, I am so lucky to have her. I have three more semesters before I finish college, and every step of the way, I am thinking of you.

But how will my education-about the world- politics- government- society influence my views of my country? Will I understand what I see because I have read about it or will the intellectual material mean nothing when put into practice? Will I be upset at the things I did not know when I was younger? Will I express my emotions? Will I be allowed to?

Will one month be enough time for me to re-learn Ethiopia?

But I do know one thing for sure, I love my country. I have worked hard to keep every part of my Ethiopian culture a large part of who I am. I speak Amharic even when others laugh at my pronunciation and I wear Habesha kemis* every chance I get. So Ababa, if there is one thing i am not nervous about is me hating Ethiopia or my Ethiopian people. This I know and this I believe.

I promise to visit your burial site, I have missed you so much, you are the one man in this world that has given me the love and support that I take with me everyday. Mommy misses you too, please continue to be in our hearts, minds and spirit. Please be with me in my journey to Ethiopia Ababa, I will go home and wait for you to come with peanuts and ask for a piggy back ride. I will sleep in your room and ask as many questions as I can about the man you were, I hope to one day be half the human being you are. I will kiss Emaye for you and cherish your home that I grew up in. I love you more than life Ababa.

I’m coming home.


*Gola Michael- The neighborhood I grew up in Addis Abeba,Ethiopia.
*Paste-Fried dough served in Ethiopian Cafes
*Shai- Tea
*Mad Bate- Kitchen
*Gursha- a tradition in which Ethiopian people feed each other during meals
*Habesha Kemis- Traditional Ethiopian dress
*Lula- my grandfathers nick name for me

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Women Changing the World One Community at a Time: Hawi Awash


Hawi Awash. A Senior in high school but her imagination, creativity, and compassion shows us all that age ain’t nothing but a number. From a young age, Awash has always dreamed of helping children who face and live in economic disparity. She and her family lived in several East African countries and she knows first hand, how hard life can be with out the basic needs of survival. Instead of turning her head away from her people and working on her self and her own needs when she came to the United States, Awash has chosen to give back to Africa.
At the age of fifteen, Awash organized an event for charity: water, a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Through this non-profit, she helped raise 8,000 dollars for children in East Africa that have HIV/AIDS. Awash was also crowned Miss Teen Africa 2012 and Diamond Doll Beauty Queen 2012. These titles give her opportunities to host community events and empower youth like herself. Awash is currently working on a virtual campaign, “Life In a Glass”, she is working with Charity Water again to fundraise just in time for the holiday season.
There were many women I could of chose to start the series of posts about women who are changing the world, one community at a time. However, I chose Awash because of her age, her past, and her bright future. She is still a teenager, the only time when it is socially acceptable to focus only on oneself and worry about the world later. However, Awash, at such a youthful age has chosen to worry about the world today and even more inspirational, to do something about it. If she can do it, than why cant we all? It is young women like her that gives us hope that the future of East Africa is in caring hands.
Awash lives by a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, ““The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

If you would like to know a way to contact Hawi Awash for professional reasons, you may write in the comment box below and we will pass on your message.

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Why Should you Continue to Follow East African Girl? VIDEO!

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How Beauty can lead to Genocide


Miss Ethiopia 2009, Melat Yante 4

Can Lead to This.


Believe it.

The picture I have posted above is of an East African woman and the second, young boys dead in the Rwandan Genocide. 

The Rwandan Genocide. Where did it stem from? A Genocide that took the lives of  800,000 people, how did its begin? Who planted the ideas of a superior race into the minds of the Rwandan people? And why does it continue in Congo today? Here is how Beauty leads to Genocide.

Author and Journalist Philip Gourevitch in the the book We Wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be Killed with our families Stories From Rwanda tells us the beginning of the Rwandan Genocide Gourevitch explains to the reader how one of the root causes of Genocide was the “difference” in the appearance of Hutus and Tutsis. This is called Racial Science.  I am quoting this book through out this post.

The Hamtic hypothesis founded by Englishman John Hanning Speke in 1863 says that “all culture and civilization in central Africa had been introduced by the taller, sharper-featured people, whom he considered to be Caucasoid tribe of Ethiopian origin, descended from the biblical King David, and therefore a superior race to the native Negroids.” ( 51) Basically, white looking Africans will introduce civilization to black looking Africans.

Speke kept a journal, Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, this journal was devoted to and used biblical references to explain why dark Africans are inferior to the white human being. In a journal called Fauna he says, “…take man–the true curly-head, flab-nosed, pouch-mouthed negro…How the negro has lived so many ages without advancing seems marvelous, when all the countries surrounding Africa are so forward in caparison...the African must soon either step out from his darkness, or be superseded by a being superior to himself.” (52)

So while in Africa, Speke discovered a “superior” set of people. these people had “Fine oval faces, large eyes, and high noses, denoting the best of blood of Abyssinia( Ethiopia).” During this time, it is important to note that The tutsis were a tribe in Ethiopia. Speke liked these peoples bridged noses- he labeled them lost christians and suggested with training they can be superior like the English people.

“Few Rwandans would deny that the Hamatic myth is one of the essential ideas by which they understand who they are in this world.” (53)

So this is how the story goes. After Speke, there was justification among Europeans to enslave, colonize and rule over the dark man. After European powers held a conference in 1885 to divide the African states which they would colonize, ethnic groups were designated a state to which they did not have a say in belonging to. Rwanda was awarded to East Germany and soon after WWI, Belgium colonized Rwanda.

Colonization takes strategy, Europeans did not simply come into Africa with guns and try to enslave the people. No, they came in calm, smiling, “worked” with the current leaders to attain what they want. In Rwanda, Belgium used the Speke analysis of the dark man to name Hutus and Tutsis different ethnic groups, differentiate the two by having scientists measure their noses, and administered Tutsis to be their chiefs. They encouraged Tutsis to exploit and degrade Hutus and placed one group above another. Rwanda wasn’t Rwanda anymore, it was a country where the law of the land declared Tutsis better than Hutus.

Long Story short, in 1957, a group of the” inferior” race, Hutus, published the Hutu Manifesto which argued for a majoritarian democracy- embraced the Hamatic myth- argued the Hutu people were the original the rightful leaders of the nation since bridge nosed Tutsis were from Ethiopia. They wanted their country back. decades later, 800,000 Rawandas would be killed so Hutus can Rule Rwanda again.

all of this because one white man liked one persons nose better than another persons nose.

I write this post not to only share the history of the Rwandan Genocide, but to show you, how labeling something more attractive than another can lead to preference, which as seen above leads to tragic events such as genocides. East Africans from countries such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia are often praised for their Eurocentric beauty. But should we proud that we were labeled beautiful by a white scientist that caused ethnic conflict and deaths of thousands of people? Should we proud that this very notion is what justified slavery, and rape of  women, in North America 300 years ago? Is it fair to leave out our sisters in these countries that were not praised by Mr. Speke? You tell me, are East African women now colonized through prostitution in placed like Dubai? Is it colonization that leads dark women to bleach their skin in hopes of making it lighter? Do we perpetuate and use Spekes lies  in our personal lives? We need to ask and answer these questions for

 beauty leads to Genocide and it has the power to lead to Genocide again.



Post Coming soon about this

“Ethiopian girl Ethiopian girl with yo long curly hair and yo big ass booty Reading all them pro black pro female books
Just let em let em know that you ain’t no groupie”