Written by Samrawit Zeinu
Life in Ethiopia had its ups and downs. When I was living there as a kid, I was pretty happy.
Ethiopia is a great place to live your childhood. When you are very young you don’t have anything to worry about. An average day for me was to wake up, eat breakfast, and play with my sisters and friends.
I started school when I was four years old, which took away from the time I had with my friends. When my sisters and I went to school, usually a taxi came by in the morning and dropped us off at school. On the days we didn’t have a ride to school, my mom would walk with us all the way (which was a very long walk).
I was pretty young when I lived in Ethiopia, but even at that age I could still see all the people that struggled each and every day. Every time I went to visit my grandmother I would always see these tents made from plastic bags on the side of the roads where people lived.
It always saddened me to see so many people who did not have a house like I did or kids who were not able to go to school like me. I used to think it was because their parents just didn’t care or they didn’t have jobs that could pay for it. Now I have a better understanding of why so many people struggle, not just in Ethiopia but all around the world.
In 2008 I went back to Ethiopia to visit my family.
I was happy to see all of my friends whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. I was saddened to see that the same tents were still there (if not more) by my grandmother’s house. My dad use to have a lot of employees at his mechanic shop, but when I went there I only found three people who worked for him. He had to let go of most of his employees because business was bad.
I hope that one day I will be able to help my family and friends back home.
Samrawit will continue sharing her personal story right here on the GV blog. Look for her next entry in April.