Location: Eastern Africa, west of Somalia
Size: slightly less than twice the size of Texas
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2007 est.)
Climate: tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation
Ethinic Groups: Oromo 32.1%, Amara 30.1%, Tigraway 6.2%, Somalie 5.9%, Guragie 4.3%, Sidama 3.5%, Welaita 2.4%, other 15.4% (1994 census)
Language: Amarigna 32.7%, Oromigna 31.6%, Tigrigna 6.1%, Somaligna 6%, Guaragigna 3.5%, Sidamigna 3.5%, Hadiyigna 1.7%, other 14.8%, English (major foreign language taught in schools) (1994 census)
Religions: Christian 60.8% (Orthodox 50.6%, Protestant 10.2%), Muslim 32.8%, traditional 4.6%, other 1.8% (1994 census)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: 38.7% (FY05/06 est.)
Government: federal republic
Economy (Agriculture & Industry):
Economy: cereals, pulses, coffee, oilseed, cotton, sugarcane, potatoes, qat, cut flowers; hides, cattle, sheep, goats; fish food processing, beverages, textiles, leather, chemicals, metals processing, cement
Currency: Birr (ETB)
Family life: Because Ethiopia has over 70 different ethnic groups, marriage and family practices vary widely. In general, families are patriarchal, with the male as the head and main decision maker.
Although cities like Addis Ababa have high-rises, most Ethiopians live in traditional houses. In rural areas, these are based on the tukul, a windowless, circular hut with a conical roof supported by a central pole.
• Ethiopians don't use cutlery, preferring to eat with their right hands. Meals usually begin with hand washing: a decorated metal or earthenware jug is brought to the table and a child or adult will then pour water over guests' outstretched hands into a small basin.
• Ethiopia's national dish is wot, a spicy stew with many varieties. Wot can be made of meat, fish or vegetables, although chicken and beef are the most common bases.
• Pork is forbidden for Ethiopian Christians, Muslims and Jews. Because there are so many fasting days in the year.
• Ethiopia has a well-developed vegetarian cuisine, largely based on beans.
• They eat very few sweets. The exception is honey, which is often served as a dessert.
Sports: Visiting family and friends is the most common pastime in Ethiopia.
In both rural and urban areas, Ethiopia's most popular sport is soccer.
Ethiopians excellence in running has become widely recognized through the winning of numerous Olympic medals.
Arts: Ethiopians have a strong oral culture, which includes thousands of proverbs and stories. Stories teach morality, history and culture.
Dancing is very important to most Ethiopians. The most common form is iskista, where the dancers moved their shoulders while keeping their lower bodies stationary
Holidays: Other than New Year, most Ethiopian celebrations are Christian Muslim religious events.
• Kiddus Yohannes New Year's Day comes on September 11, which coincides with the end of the season of heavy rains and the beginning of spring. On New Year's eve, people gather around neighborhood bonfires before visiting friends and relatives to offer them New Year's greetings. On New Year's day people dress in new clothes and celebrate with feasts, visits and games such as gugs.
Important Christian holidays include:
• Meskal, Christmas, In September, the two-day feast of Meskal marks the finding of the True Cross.
• Timket and Easter. Timket, which marks Christ's baptism, is the most colourful event of the year.
• The ninth month of the Muslim calendar is devoted to Ramadan, which is marked by fasting.
• 'Id Al Fatr, The greatest Muslim feast of the year which celebrates the end of Ramadan. --September 20: Muslims also celebrate the prophet Mohammed's birthday and mark the anniversaries of numerous martyrs.
Orphans and At-risk children
An estimated 4.8 million orphans live in Ethiopia.
• 2 million children have been orphaned by AIDS.
• 2.8 million children have been orphaned due to other diseases and lack of water and food.
• Only 31% of children are enrolled/attend primary school.
Buckner in Ethiopia
In May 2006 Buckner expanded its African ministries to Ethiopia. Ethiopian President Wolde-Giorgis openly welcomed Buckner to aid his government and people in offering an opportunity for change. In order to propel a meaningful impact in Ethiopia, Bright Hope Ministries and Buckner merged to better meet the needs of children and families
Buckner services and country support include:
• A Buckner-supported baby home for children from infancy to 3 years of age.
• An adoption program that will be the lowest-cost program Buckner provides. This program will offer a faster adoption process of only 6 to 12 months.
• A Community Development Center in Bantu which will include a kindergarten through eighth grade school, church, an expansion of an existing health center, a water well and an adult literacy program.
• Mission trips to lead VBS, provide medical and vision care, and adult-education training.