Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Ethiopia return trip #3

This is a quick write-up of our trip to Ethiopia in July. It was a short trip.

We flew Emirates through Dubai. The e-visa got us through immigration quickly, then a long wait at baggage claim. We stayed one night at the Toronto Guest House, good value with restaurants nearby. The following day we took a bus from Meskal Square to Hawassa. Six hours, comfortable, no bathrooms. In Hawassa we stayed at one of the clean, cheap, but noisy guesthouses near the lake. We walked along the lake, went to the fish market, and gawked at the marabou storks. We stayed two nights. We also met up with the other family that we planned this trip with and we traveled together from Hawassa on.

The bus to Arba Min'ch left super early in the morning, so instead we took a private car. The drive was about five hours. We stayed at the Haile Resort. Definitely not worth the cost, but slept well. Taking 4 nights before starting toward our final destination was a good amount of time to get over jet lag.

I had arranged for a driver from Arba Min'ch. The driver took us all the way through Konso to Burji. Again, about five hours. Beautiful scenery along the way. 

And then my favorite part - reunion. We spent five wonderful days in the village. We met more relatives - every visit there are more. We learned more family history. The kids crossed language barriers and giggled over the universal humor of ticklish blades of grass and farts. We looked at a lot of photos. We visited the grave of a loved one. We ate until bursting and were told repeatedly that we weren't eating enough. The kids slept in the home of a relative. A steady stream of people came to see us and we lost track of who everyone was. We hugged a lot of people. We drank a lot of coffee. We went into town and watched a match between two local soccer teams. The kids took the cows to graze on the hilltop for the day. We took the donkeys to fetch water. We stumbled through basic conversations in Amharic. We exchanged phone numbers and made plans for better communication and future visits.

Then after five days the driver came to get us and we returned to the Tourist Hotel in Arba Min'ch. There we waited for news about Sidama, where the other family needed to go. While waiting we visited a silk farm, which was very interesting, and the kids went back to the Dorze village. On the second day we learned we couldn't go to Sidama, so the other family had their driver take us all back to Addis. We spent one day in Addis, then flew to Dubai. In Dubai we took the train from the airport for a quick look around, then we flew home. 

The highlight of the trip was having the other family to travel with. It was great to have someone going through the same experiences at the same time. It allowed the kids to bounce back and forth between their Ethiopian and American selves. 

The one mistake I made was not getting a cell phone.

My homework for next time is to improve my Amharic. 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Black History Month 2019

As usual, for my teacher friends to use as needed. In reverse chronological order, beginning with Barack Obama and ending with Phillis Wheatley. The focus is on political leaders, writers, and scientists. Please note that this year I made the list for adult English language learners, so you may need to adapt for children. There is some overlap with past years' lists.

1.    This Black American was the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017.

Answer: Barack Obama

2.    This movement was founded in 2013 after a jury found a White man “not guilty” in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Its goal is to end racism in the United States criminal justice system.

Answer: Black Lives Matter

3.    This Black American was the first female African American U.S. Senator. She represented Illinois in the Senate from 1993 to 1999.

Answer: Carol Moseley Braun

4.    This Black American won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She wrote the novel Beloved.

Answer: Toni Morrison

5.    This Black American, known as “The Queen of Soul,” became the first woman in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Her most famous songs include Respect and A Natural Woman.

Answer: Aretha Franklin

6.    This person was the first Black American astronaut to go into space. He became a NASA astronaut in 1979. He flew four missions to space and orbited the Earth 458 times.

Answer: Guion Bluford

7.    In 1969, this Black American became the first African American woman elected to the United States Congress. She was the first Black candidate for President of the United States.

Answer: Shirley Chisolm

8.    This Black American was the first African American justice on the United States Supreme Court. He was on the Supreme Court from 1967 to 1991. Before he became a judge, he was a lawyer who won the case for school desegregation in Brown v. Board of Education.

Answer: Thurgood Marshall

9.    These Black mathematicians sent the first American astronauts into space. They were “human computers” who worked at NASA. They performed the calculations needed to launch humans into space – and they did them by hand. You can learn more about these women in the movie Hidden Figures.

Answer: Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan (VAHN)

10. This Black American was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He was a minister who believed in the power of non-violence. The FBI called him “The Most Dangerous Man in America.” His 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most famous speeches in U.S. history.

Answer: Martin Luther King Jr.

11. This Black American is known as the “mother of the Civil Rights movement.” In 1955, as a member of the Montgomery, Alabama NAACP, she chose to be arrested on the city bus in order to challenge racist bus laws. Her arrest started a year-long boycott of Montgomery city buses.

Answer: Rosa Parks

12. This internationally famous Black singer had been denied entrance to Constitution Hall in Washington DC in 1939, so she performed in front of the Lincoln Memorial. She sang there again in 1963 during Dr. King’s March on Washington.

Answer: Marian Anderson

13. This Black scientist studied at Temple University and worked at Bell Labs. He invented the foil electret microphone in 1962. Ninety percent of microphones today, including in phones, camcorders, and baby monitors, use his technology.

Answer: James West

14. This Black athlete broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947 by playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was an All-Star player for six years in a row. On April 15 every year, every player on every team in Major League Baseball wears his number, 42.

Answer: Jackie Robinson

15. This Black writer was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Her best-known work is the 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Answer: Zora Neale Hurston

16. In 1912, this Black American invented the first safety hood so that firefighters and rescue workers could safely go into places filled with smoke and poisonous gases. In 1923 he invented the first traffic signal with a warning light.

Answer: Garrett Morgan

17. This Black American was an inventor who improved travel by train in the 19th century. He received 57 patents for his inventions. We use his name today when we call the original and best thing “the real McCoy.”

Answer: Elijah McCoy

18. In 1887, this Black American designed an important safety feature for elevators – their automatic doors. Before his invention, people had to close the elevator door by hand. If they forgot, they risked falling out of the elevator.

Answer: Alexander Miles

19. This Black American invented one of the first washing machines in the 1880’s. Her invention was a hand-cranked machine that passed wet clothes between two rollers, squeezing out the water and dirt.

Answer: Ellen Eglin

20. This Black American was the principal of the Institute for Colored Youth, now Cheyney University, the country’s oldest historically Black university. He worked to desegregate Philadelphia streetcars, once spending the whole night in a streetcar rather than give up his seat. There is a memorial to him outside Philadelphia City Hall. He was murdered by a White man in 1871 when he tried to vote.

Answer: Octavius Catto

21. In 1870 and 1875, these Black leaders became the first African American senators in the United States Senate. During the Reconstruction period after the Civil War, federal troops briefly safeguarded the rights of African Americans. Racist state governments revoked the newly won rights when Reconstruction ended in 1876.

Answer: Hiram Revels and Blanche Bruce

22. This Black American escaped from slavery during the Civil War by taking a Confederate ship and sailing it north. He was a ship’s captain for the Union during the war and a member of Congress after the war.

Answer: Robert Smalls

23. In 1857, this enslaved Black American sued for his freedom in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court ruled that he was the property of his owner and that Black Americans were not citizens of the United States.

Answer: Dred Scott

24. This Black American escaped slavery and became an activist for African American and women’s rights. Her 1851 “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention is one of the most famous speeches in U.S. history.

Answer: Sojourner Truth

25. This Black American was a slave who escaped to Pennsylvania in 1849. Over the next ten years she completed 19 secret missions to rescue over 300 people from slavery. You can visit the house where she sheltered escaped slaves on Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia.

Answer: Harriet Tubman

26. This Black American escaped from slavery in 1838 to become a famous writer, speaker, and newspaper publisher. After the Civil War he became president of the new Freedman’s Savings Bank.

Answer: Frederick Douglass

27. In 1794, this Black minister founded the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the first independent Black church in the United States. The church is located at the corner of Sixth and Lombard Streets in Philadelphia. It is the oldest church property in the United States to be continuously owned by African Americans.

Answer: Richard Allen

28. This Black American was sold into slavery in 1761 when she was seven years old. She went on to become an internationally famous poet and one of the first published poets of colonial America.

Answer: Phillis Wheatley