Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dear Ohio,

One of my good Ethiopian friends, Habtie, is convinced that Ohio is the promised land. His dream in life is to live there and when asked why he will say, "that is where the Christians live. Also, it is very like Ethiopia." I'll admit that I was dubious and tried to give Habtie some more realistic expectations based on my many experiences in Ohio (I spent a weekend in the Cincinnati suburbs once in the 8th grade). I told him it was a frozen wasteland with nothing to offer except industrial jobs, but he would have none of it saying, "I love Ohio."

I now find myself in Ohio as the inaugural stop on my tour de Northeast and am shocked to find that Ohio is, in fact, very like Ethiopia. I know this must come as a surprise, but I have examples:

#1- They're big into agriculture in these parts.



You'll notice that my 'frozen wasteland' comments are not far off the mark for Ohio...

#1a- Living conditions of farmers adequately reflect their contribution to their respective economies. For instance, farmers are the back-bone of the Ethiopian economy (43% of GDP) and they live in palaces such as this:

Contrast that to American farmers, who comprise only 1.2% of our GDP... they're practically living in mud huts.

#2- Donkeys!!!

Compare and contrast: Size and woolliness of Ohio donkeys to their Ethiopian counterparts.

Though Ohio donkeys are fatter and fuzzier, I firmly believe that Ethiopian donkeys have a higher quality of life due to the fact that Ohio is so unbelievably freezing.

#3- Patriotism runs deep in our respective lands.

Thus far the trip has been quite the success! I first met up with great friends from Peace Corps, Gamechu (one who laughs/Chris) and Chaltu (one who has a big head/is intelligent/Liz). Chris and Liz were some of my closest friends in Ethiopia and their home became a safe haven for me turning our time there, providing much encouragement, many laughs, and cherished community. It has been just as encouraging seeing them here, as their home is filled with reminders of Ethiopia (namely their dog, Curdis, who was brought back from Ethioland) and they have been so intentional in their hospitality.

I've also been able to spend quality time with the Squeak! My little sister goes to college up in the middle-of-nowhere-wasteland-Ohio. It's been so fun to see her college life, eat her college food, go to college plays, and sleep in her college dorm room. She's like a real live person these days!

I conclude with a recommendation: do not go North during winter.