Letters from Ethiopia - Part 2
Fast forward a few months later to August, Abye relayed some good news thanks to our travelers’ support and his newly purchased vehicle. Abye recounts: “Here we are approaching the end of the rainy season and soon will be the Ethiopian new year. My new urban life would have been a nightmare if it wasn't for all of your support to purchase my vehicle. Due to COVID-19, there are restrictions of having a limited number of passengers inside the vehicle: 6 only are allowed instead of 12… In the morning and late afternoon, I am transferring local NGO employees back and forth to work… [During] the day, I work with restaurants and small business outlets who do deliveries. I put in a lot of hours, but it is worth it and I am grateful to be able to provide to my family and make ends meet.”
Unfortunately around this time, conflict and violence escalated in the region, with violent protests breaking out in Addis Ababa after the assassination of a well-known Oromo activist and musician in July, 2020 (Latif Dahir, 2020). Hundreds were killed during the violent unrest, with many buildings being attacked and burned down (Latif Dahir, 2020). Over the next few months, political instability reached an all-time high, with Abye noting in his September correspondence that “[the] army is like firefighters trying to stop uprisings everywhere. So it does keep us a bit nervous.”
Despite all of this turmoil and economic uncertainty, Abye remained optimistic, especially with his new work in the transportation business (Abye and his new truck pictured below). Abye’s touching comments to our travelers is a testament to the resiliency and kindness of humanity: “I want to wish each and everyone who believed in me a year of healing, peace, most of all good health and strength! Thanks to your support I can face the reality out there with full confidence that I can continue to support and provide to my family! As I have mentioned before driving in an urban environment is different work. The good thing about Toyota [is that it is] strong and spare parts are easily affordable.”
Latif Dahir, Abdi. 2020. “Ethiopia Announces Arrests in Prominent Singer’s Killing.” New York
Times, November 5, 2020.