Roar to you all… We have now reached the country called Ethiopia in Africa. Ethiopia was a lovely country full of people who were so kind, warm and friendly. The land was beautiful with lots of trees, plants and rivers and mountains. Lion says he can’t believe how beautiful one country could be!
Here is a map of Ethiopia. We cycled through places called Gonder, Bahir Dar, Addis Ababa…all the way to Moyale. Can you find those places on the map?
This is the flag of Ethiopia. Dino loved the colours…they look very bright and vibrant.
The capital city is called Addis Ababa. In the Ethiopian language this means ‘ new flower’.
In Addis Ababa, we visited a museum that holds lots of old bones. One set of bones is very famous…it is thought that this is the oldest person that lived. Her name is Lucy and she lived millions of years ago in Ethiopia. It is thought that all other people are descendants of her… Lion thought this might be his great,great,great,great,great,great,great,great,great,great,great grandmother!
The language that Ethiopians speak is called Amharic. The are lots of different tribes in Ethiopia and they all have their own languages but Amharic is the official language.
Would you like to learn some?
Ethiopians use a different calendar to the rest of the world. The calendar has 13 months! How many months are in our calendar? Can you name them?
This means that the year is also different to the rest of the world. When we visited it was the year 2012 in England. In Ethiopia, the year was 2004! Lion said…he wasn’t even born in 2004! Dino said..it was like we had gone back in time!
In Ethiopia, they also read the time differently on a clock. 1 o’clock does not mean 1 o’clock in the afternoon but it means 1 hour after sunrise! Sunrise is at 6am so in Ethiopian time 1o’clock would be 7 o’clock for the rest of the world. Dino found this very confusing!
To buy things we had to use Ethiopian birr.
Ethiopia is a very poor country. Lots of children do not go to school as they cannot afford the school fees. Dino says we are lucky in England because education is free…in some countries, you have to pay to go to school. Some families do not have enough money so the children work in the fields to earn money for the family instead of going to school. Sometimes they sell food at the side of the road.
In the countryside the houses are wooden.
They do not always have a tap with water so the mum or children have to walk to collect water from the nearest water pump. You can read more about ‘water’ by clicking here
In the cities, towns and most villages, there are lots of new buildings all made out of bricks. The houses have water and electricity.
In Gonder, there is even a huge castle. We loved visiting this and exploring. We saw the rooms where the Emperor used to have huge banquets.
Ethiopia is a stunning country and one of the most beautiful that Dino has ever been to. It has lots of mountains. The mountains were beautiful but they were hard to cycle up… They were so high that the air was very thin near the top. It meant that Lion was out of breath by the time he got to the top of the hills!
Our owner had some help sometimes to reach the top of the hills…
In the south, the land is hotter and there are dry deserts with lots of tall termite mounds. In this part of Ethiopia, there is little water and people have to walk a long way to find a water supply.
In the fields we also saw lots of monuments to people who had died. Different tribes decorate their graves in different ways. This is one example:
There are lots of rivers and streams. A famous river starts it’s journey in Ethiopia. The Blue Nile starts from a lake called Lake Tana. The Blue Nile then winds it’s way through Ethiopia all the way into Sudan. The Blue Nile joins another river called the white Nile in Khartoum, Sudan. (Lion says “Do you remember when we visited Khartoum when we cycled through Sudan? Read our Sudan blog to find out more!”) The Nile then continues through Sudan and Egypt until it reached the Mediterranean Sea.
The lakes are also used for fishing…
There are even hippos in Lake Tana!
The mountains and valleys are perfect for growing fruit. We saw lots of papaya, bananas, mangos and pineapples growing. Dino felt sick after eating much more than his ‘5 a day’.
We also saw chilli’s drying in the sun.
And someone had made paints by crushing the seeds from different plants to make the different colours..
Ethiopia is also very famous for growing excellent coffee.. When you next go to a coffee shop look to see where the coffee is grown……we wonder if it will be the coffee beans we saw growing in Ethiopia?
Lower down the valley, the fields are perfect for growing crops. We saw lots of piles of crops. The farmers sort the grain out from the plant and then use it to make a very famous Ethiopian food called Injera.
Injera is like a flat bread but it has a very vinegary taste. It looks like a bath mat.
“It was so tasty. You rip a bit off and then hold it in your paw, then you use the injera to pick up the meat or sauce before gobbling it up” explains Dino. “you have to wash your hands first so you don’t give germs to the people you share the injera with.”
Ethiopia has lots of tribes and each one has it’s own special music and dancing. View the CycleAfricaEducation YouTube page to see an example of the Ethiopian dancing.
After all that injera, Dino was too full to dance. But Lion enjoyed the music.
The Ethiopian dancers shrugged their shoulders very quickly. It was amazing to see…
After all that dancing, it is time for us to sleep. It is also time for us to cycle to our next country. Come back next Friday to see where we are now.
If you want to learn more about our journey ask your parents to help you log on to
Dino and Lion