An Ethiopian Diary: Day 3

Catching my breath from the flood of vibrancy all around me. The cars, buses, exhaust, dust, pollution, overpopulation — it’s all very “vibrant” and alive. But the color, faces, contrasts, chaos and glorious madness of all the extensive goings-on balance it out.

Driving the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is far better and entertaining than anything on your smartphone, I promise.

Today had me in my happy place. Teaching and sharing art at the International Community School of Addis Ababa. We worked on illustration for our bookmaking project.

Why are we making books?

Here is the short of it:
• There are 70 languages in Ethiopia.
• School is taught only in Amharic and then, by grade 7, English.
• Your mother tongue is not Amharic or English, it is highly likely you have never learned to read in your own language, making it much harder to learn and write in Amharic than in English.
• All early learners deserve books they can read.

So yes, let’s make books that can be translated into local language!

But first, we are off into the wilds of Southern Nations, Ethiopia, to make our own work. Eight artists in all. Oh, the joy of it!

Street life: A “hello” from a passerby.

A curious onlooker from the traffic jams of Addis.

Hello, beautiful!

Ethiopian Odyssey II team after a day of teaching art and writing!

Illustrations for our bookmaking project, based on Ethiopian proverbs!

More illustrations …

Vibrant street art!


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