Series: Colorado-to-Ethiopia

February 5, 2012

Last fall, reporter Megan Verlee traveled to Ethiopia on a fellowship through the International Reporting Project.  While that country is half a world away from this state, she managed to find many Colorado connections there, and she brought back a few of those stories.

Part One: Berhe Kasse, owner of the Denver Cafe chain

Part Two: Abel Ayelew, graduate of the Colorado Center for the Blind

Part Three: Keith Keyser and Bob & Nancy Sturtevant, Colorado Peace Corps volunteers

Part Four: Berke Nuguse, winner of the Diversity Visa Lottery

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Megan's work from Ethiopia also aired on PRI's The World:

-The Greying of the Peace Corps

-Conflict Simmers over an Ethiopian Mecca

-Rastafarians Work to find a Home in Zion

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You can find Megan's blog of her time in Ethiopia here.

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Listeners have been writing in response to our series to share their own connections with Ethiopia and we'll post some of their comments here.  To share your story, use our listener comment form.

Denver is sister cities with Axum, a very history city in northern Ethiopia, famous for its ancient stele field and the reputed home of the Ark of the Covenant.  Find out more about the sister city relationship here.

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Denver photojournalist K. J. Mohatt writes to say he has been documenting the local Ethiopian Orthodox Christian community, gaining an inside view of a foreign faith, language and culture within the Metro Area.  His photos show a religious community that has managed to not only maintain its distinct qualities but to thrive despite a great distance from its origins. You can view his pictures and audio slideshows at his website.

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Paula Palmer writes that the Bouder-based group, Cultural Survival, is about to launch an awareness campaign about human rights abuses and forced resettlements in southern Ethiopia.  There's more information on the group's website.

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Kirsten sent this story of her family's connection to the country:

We adopted our 4-year-old daughter, Elsa, from Ethiopia in April, 2011.  We first met her in November, 2010, when we spent a very enlightening month in Addis Ababa, visiting her in the orphanage every day. We discovered that the orphanage staff really love and care for the children as if they were their own. They work very hard, taking care of at least 8-11 kids per person, cooking and cleaning every day and doing laundry by hand every other day; every kid had at least one clean change of clothes every day!  I was amazed to see how hard they work, with smiles on their faces and love for these kids in their hearts.

We noticed a lot of poverty in Addis, but the people of Ethiopia are very generous. My dad visited a village above Lalibela, north of Addis Ababa, and one of the ladies allowed him to come into her small hut.  Even though she barely had anything, she offered to cook him a meal.

The country is beautiful and the people are very artistic and love to wear bright colors.  The Ethiopian culture will always have a special place in my heart, not only because that's where my daughter is from, but also because Ethiopians are wonderful people.