Early Fiesta?!

Right before we heard of the news about FIFA’s investigation into our ‘ineligible’ player and the consequences of our negligence, we were in heaven. We were 100% sure we had made it through to the final stages, so it made sense that we celebrated the making of history.

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AMBUSHED & LEFT IN DESPAIR!

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22 mazoria is normally lined with boutiques, cosmetic shops, cafes and restaurants but as of the past two days it has become a sight of one huge mess. Shops, which were the only livelihood for most of the people who owned them were demolished…All in the name of the new railway line and the roundabout.

Addis Ababa has in recent years become a site for road and building structure development. Over the past year major roads have been closed down and that has become a headache for all of us who have to go to work or school in the morning and come home in the evening. Taxi fare is an all time high and traffic at peak hours is hopeless but the Bole road will open in time for AU’s 50th anniversary summit at the end of this month and it’s looking pretty good so no complaints there.

One of the new infrastructures under development is the Addis Ababa Light Railway line.  Addis has never had rail tracks for in city use so things are being done from scratch. This means certain things have to be cleared out of the way in order for the line to be constructed. By certain things, we mean people’s homes, shops or other road side establishments.

There have been many victims of Addis’s development projects but this time around it is the business community at 22 Mazoria( commonly known as ‘Haya Hulet’).

The corner of 22 Mazoria looks like a war zone. Shops are torn apart and Cafés and restaurants are dismantled. People’s properties are lying everywhere and it is just one giant mess. But this is only the beginning. Shops further down the road are selling their items on sale because they know they are going to be next.

 

We had the opportunity to interview a family who’ve already lost their shop and are on the verge of losing their only home. They had done all they could to keep their property, which they say they own legally, but are now left hopeless because no authority is willing to help them.

About a month ago the family had been told to move back about two meters in to their shop. They did as they were told and had even re-constructed the pathway at their own cost. A few days ago, however, they were ordered to move back thirty-two meters once again. But this time it’s not just a part of the shop they will lose but the home that three generations of the family live in. They have nowhere to go and they haven’t even been compensated for the damage or relocated.  All they have is an order from government offices to take their properties and leave the premises in three days.

This might be the story of one family but with the way things have been going in the city it’s highly likely that many more peole will relate.

We understand that unpleasant measures have to be taken and that there will be victims but how far is too far? How many people would have to be left stranded in order for the development goals to be met? Isn’t our well being part of the plan?

Our enthusiasm over building a new Ethiopia is getting in the way of securing the well being of our own people so maybe we need to pause for a second and re think the action plan our strategy. Ethiopia’s development being the end result we’re all hoping for, some of the actions taken towards reaching that goal sometimes feels un-Humanitarian.

The Ethiopian renaissance is one we’re all looking forward to. We long to see the days when we have reliable infrastructure, the day when every Ethiopian has a roof over his head, doesn’t go to bed hungry, when we don’t have to worry about the continuous supply of water or uninterrupted electricity and the day when we’re lending than borrowing. But what is the price to pay for our better tomorrow?

We’re not worried about how long it’s going to take. We don’t expect to wake up one day to find Ethiopia turned into a developed country. We’re just not sure how the development process is going to affect our lives in general or who we’re going to turn to when we’re being mistreated in the name of Ethiopian Renaissance.

May 10, 2013
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They’ve done it again

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They’ve done it again

Our boys have managed to give us one crazy Sunday afternoon once again. The result might have come while we were contemplating the idea of sharing the top position at the group table but that only added to the excitement at the end. Late goals are always so fun when they’re in the net but the previous minutes are nerve- racking. Going through 88 minutes without a goal when your spot at the group table is at stake is tormenting.  Getish, God Bless his soul, saved us all from having to go home with sad faces.

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We’re sorry that it has taken us a whole week to write about the latest match. Attempting to write a small article and picking out the best photos out of the hundreds we’ve taken is a lot harder than we anticipated earlier but we made it into the stadium this time around so we’ve got you an ‘inside story’.

We obviously had to go through 6 to 7 hours of staying in line for the tickets and as usual the lines were unbelievably long. For future reference, if you aren’t there by 9 in the morning then don’t even think about showing up around that vicinity. Stay home and hope ETV will broadcast the match in one peace 😉

The fans

We’re starting off with the fans because lately we’re seeing a remarkable amount of support for the national team and we feel it should be acknowledged. Wearing the team jersey, painting faces with green-yellow-red paint and wrapping oneself with our flag is becoming a norm these days. Everyone gets hyped up about whatever game the team has played, plays, or is going to play. CIMG0111 CIMG0131

A day or two before the game, a sports program on the radio was saying how supporters should back their team all 90 minutes. It’s easier said than done, dear friends. You see, football is sometimes like a suspense movie. You get caught up in all the action, fear the other team’s gonna score or see your team miss a goal and you just forget why you’re there in the first place. Support your team!

Right before the Waliyas got into the stadium, there were three uninterrupted rounds of a Mexican wave and it was beautiful. People were cheering for the first 10 minutes of the game and they didn’t seem to want to leave the stadium afterwards either.

Considering our level of support and attendance we’re probably going to turn out to be one of the World’s greatest football fans but we come with our own sets of demons. We fans, in general, tend to overstep our boundaries and rant about what should and shouldn’t have been done. But let’s face it; it’s not really our job. We’re raising this issue because we witnessed quite a large group of fans throwing filthy words at our coach which is not the best way to show support when your team has actually won.

No room for the ladies

I hear the national stadium is very old and from the way things are going for our national team we’re going to need a much bigger venue, possibly equipped with a much better shelter and a restroom for the ladies. Let’s take a second to talk about the restroom. In the world we live in today, restrooms are normally divided into Men’s room and Female’s room, right? Well, not if you’re going through the ‘Keman Anishe’ side of the Addis Ababa National Stadium. The national stadium, for God’s sake! I’ve been in the ‘kibur tribune’ section of the stadium and there’s a descent bathroom at that side with different rooms. I guess you can say ‘The difference is visible’, if you know what I mean.

Over at the ‘keman anishe’ side there’s one ‘restroom’ with absolutely no room for privacy. I don’t know why the place was built that way but I’m guessing they didn’t feel the need to build a ladies room due to our minimal presence. Nevertheless, I think building a ladies room should be considered. If I prepared a petition for a proper restroom, will any of you girls sign up? I’m 99.9% sure the Football Federation is going to tell me it has bigger things to worry about than a ladies room but it might be worth a try.

The game

The game was, to be honest, not that interesting. The first half was deadly boring, in which, the silence of the stadium was a proof of. There were certain players (from our side) that played impressive football but the game in general was dull. The atmosphere was so much more vibrant before the game and obviously afterwards but during the game it felt mostly like we were all in a funeral. Besides a few cheers here and there, the entire arena was quiet.  But the game wasn’t the only thing that turned our moods off. The weather goes at number two for chilling our vibe.

 

The Weather

If you needed to teach anyone about the types of weather, it’d have been a great day. Addis Ababa’s climate is a funny one. I’m an Addis native but not once have I ever had the weather predictions right. My advice. When you leave home, make sure u have the kind of clothing you might need in times of any possible kind of weather. Addis Ababa is full of surprises, one of it being the weather. It can be so gloomy and cold in the morning and in the afternoon it’s like you’re living in the middle of a desert.

When the stadium opened up at around 12:30pm, the sky was clear and the sun was blazing hot. A couple of hours later, in the middle of the match, the sky started to darken, then it  cleared up again and then the darkness descends over the skies again and the rain pours. It wasn’t that the rain was heavy but it took it forever to wind up. Umbrellas weren’t that helpful either because for one it were getting in the way of our sudden bodily reactions to goal attempts and two, the rain wouldn’t stop. Our only other option was to ditch the Umbrellas, which we did.

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To those of you who watched the game on TV, I heard the ETV’s live transmission was cut for most of the second half but just so you feel better, in all that time you missed the game, we were soaking in the rain. Btw, transmission continued at about the same time the rain stopped, not that we understand what the connection was. The camera men from the station were still recording so it must have been ‘technical difficulties’.

After the rain, there was a rainbow over the stadium that day and we were saying to one another how rainbows were a sign of hope and we weren’t wrong.

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Despite the blazing sun, the pouring rain and  lack of appropriate restrooms, we’re just glad that the day ended in victory. We thank the Waliyas and the beautiful Addis Ababans who made it such a wonderful day.

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The Waliyas don’t have a game until June but we’ll be back VERY SOON! Until then, we leave you with these pictures

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BESELAM YAGENAGNEN!!!

31 Years later…

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Sunday, 14 October 2012…

If you are an Ethiopian living in Ethiopia and more specifically in Addis, then it was no ordinary Sunday.  Whether you spent the night on the streets or came early morning to take your place in the never ending queue, 2pm had become an awaited hour. The sun was as unfriendly as it could get but conversations with friends or even strangers who for that day just happened to be your best mates is making the burning sun and the long hours less painful.You may have been the last one in the line when you arrived but a couple of hours later you turn around and you’re shocked by how many people are behind you.  By mid-day, the only thing you can notice around the stadium area is the long zigzag line of people waiting and hoping to be one of the lucky 35,000 who will witness Ethiopia take on Sudan LIVE.

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From the look of things, you know that you’re not going to make it but this is not the day to give up (if you made it in, Congratulations!!!).  You’ll wait till the Federals run your tired ass out of that sefer. It’s do or die because if the Waliyas win and Ethiopia participates at AFCON 2013 after 31 years, the Stadium is where you have to be.

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As the time approaches people are getting really uneasy with the slow moving line. The feds arriving at the scene are probably just as many as those waiting in line. For some of us that’s not good news. Guilty or not, if you are amongst the restless crowd, then you’ll for sure get an understanding of just how seriously  ‘our faithful peacekeepers’ take their jobs.

The Waliyas arrive in their bus and everyone is screaming, whistling and waving the flag. Through the bus window you see some of the players smile as they hear fans shouting their names. What’s common is the surprised look on their faces. There were far too many people than anticipated.

So the Waliyas are in and after a while you hear the crowd in the stadium roaring. You know the boys are warming up in the pitch and the game is going to start anytime now. At this point people are scattering, they know they don’t stand a chance.  And neither do you. So, at this point one of these things happened. Either you went to a restaurant to have Brunch (Breakfast and lunch), run to the nearest café to take a leak (your bladder is about to burst, you have been holding it since 9 in the morning) or picked a spot in front of the sonic screen at Meskel Square. Whatever you did, not getting a ticket was a downer. Or so you thought.

There were as many people outside the stadium as were in. So Meskel Square turned out to be the ideal spot for the ‘unlucky’ and it didn’t disappoint. In my opinion, it was more vibrant than the crowd in the stadium.wide angle

Sunday 14 October 2012 was a day that brought us all together.  It was a proof that when it came to national matters, we’d all stand as one. If we were going to battle that day, we would have crushed our enemies.  People put their lives on hold so they can wave their flags high up, sing and support  their national team on what was about to be its biggest match EVER.

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There were two possible scenarios. We would either win or lose. But that didn’t seem to matter to the hundreds and thousands of Ethiopians who showed up with their beautifully colored faces, their flags and green and yellow jerseys.

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The Waliyas had played for less than two hours but Supporters were out of their homes and under gruesome circumstances some for as long as the night before. So you tell me who deserved the victory and who ought to be overjoyed.
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