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Ethiopia


Capital (and largest city)
Addis Ababa

Official languages
Amharic

Ethnic groups
Oromo 34.5%, Amhara 26.91%, Somali 6.20%, Tigray 6.07%; Sidama 4%, Gurage 2.5%, Welayta 2.3% and around eighty other small ethnic groups.

Demonym
Ethiopian

Population
2008 estimate
85,237,338

Currency Birr (ETB)



Addis Ababa - Capital and largest city. Courtesy: Google.lk

Ethiopia, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a landlocked country situated in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia is bordered by Eritrea to the North, Sudan to the West, Kenya to the South, Somalia to the East and Djibouti to the northeast. Its size is 1,100,000 km² with an estimated population of over 85,000,000. Its capital is Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world and Africa’s second-most populous nation. Ethiopia has yielded some of humanity’s oldest traces, making the area a primary factor in the origin and developmental history of humanity, with recent studies claiming the vicinity of present-day Addis Ababa as the point from which human beings migrated around the world.

Ethiopian dynastic history traditionally began with the reign of Emperor Menelik I in 1,000 BC.

The roots of the Ethiopian state are similarly deep, dating with unbroken continuity to at least the Aksumite Empire (which officially used the name ‘Ethiopia’ in the 4th Century). It was occupied by Benito Mussolini’s Italy from 1936 to 1941, ending with its liberation by British Commonwealth and Ethiopian patriot forces.

Ethiopia has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa (shares position with South Africa) and the country is famous for its Olympic distance athletes, rock-hewn churches and as the origin of the coffee bean. Historically a relatively isolated mountain country, Ethiopia by the mid 20th Century became a crossroads of global international cooperation under the leadership of Emperor Haile Selassie I.

It became a member of the League of Nations in 1923, signed the Declaration by United Nations in 1942, and was one of the fifty-one original members of the United Nations (UN).

The headquarters of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) is in Addis Ababa, often labeled Africa’s ‘Diplomatic Capital,’ as is the headquarters of the African Union (formerly the Organisation of African Unity), of which Ethiopia was the principal founder.

When several African countries gained independence, they adopted Ethiopia’s national flag colours of green, yellow and red, often labeled as Pan-African colours.

Courtesy: Wikipedia


International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

Dear Children,


Learning the ropes. File photo

Do you know that last Sunday (August 9) was the International Day of the World’s Indigenous people?

On December 23, 1994 the UN General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous people should be observed on August 9 every year during the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous people.

Our own indigenous inhabitants, the Veddas or Vanniyala Attho (‘forest-dwellers’) as they call themselves, preserve a direct line of descent from the island’s original Neolithic community dating from at least 14,000 BC and probably far earlier according to current scientific opinion.

Even today, the surviving Vanniyala Attho community retains much of its own distinctive cyclic worldview, prehistoric cultural memory, and time-tested knowledge of their semi-evergreen dry monsoon forest habitat that has enabled their ancestor-revering culture to meet the diverse challenges to their survival.

The Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has given pride of place to the well-being of Vanniyala Attho by protecting their habitat and giving prominence to their customs and traditions.

We can learn a lot from the eco-friendly, simple and contented lifestyle of theirs. Unlike the city dwellers or the so called civilized people who lead a material life engaged in a rat race to earn more and more but do not contend with what they have, the Vedda community leads a happy and contend life.

Dear Children how do you all enjoy holidays? How about flying a kite with your friends. After all, its the kite season. In my neighbourhood I see a lot of beautiful kites in the sky. That would be real fun to fly one. So have fun and play with your friends. Look after yourselves. Bye for now.

Aunt Anji


Dina brews up a storm - Part 49

The story so far...



By Uncle Sachi and Aunt Ruwi

Pramodaka, Nalaka, Champika and Chinthaka go on a trip to the woods with their parents for their school holidays. In the middle of the night the children are awakened by a strange noise.

On following their dog, Scooby, Chinthaka is snared by the age-old spell of the ‘luring stones’. Pramodaka departs with Ruwi, a pixie, to recall a book of spell to cast off the spell while Nalaka, Champika and the dog remain behind with Sachi, a gnome who updates them on the life of mythical creatures. Shamilka, a friend of the mythical creatures joins in and they begin hunting for Pramodaka and Ruwi as there is no sign of their return.

Just as they were coming to terms with the fact that they were lost, six rabbits scamper along the way. The rabbits take pity upon the children and agree to guide them part of the way. Meanwhile Sulo, the goblin who is always trying to make trouble for the mythical creatures, grabs a basket of goodies from a gnome named Russell and makes off. Scooby scents her and attacks.

Ruwi sensed that Russell is in danger but she also gets the strange feeling that there is a mysterious link between Pramodaka. Suddenly a storm breaks out and Pramodaka, Nalaka and Champika are blown away with the wind. As they make their way back to their friends Sulo notices them and comes up with a nasty plan. She rushes off gang up the rest of her pack. There she reveals a secret that could hold the key to all the goblin’s troubles...

Dina’s changing personality did not come to light till the monthly meeting of the pixies. All the elderly pixies of the clan met on the middle date of each month to discuss about the natural changes that were suppose to overtake the land and how the pixies (who were responsible for the natural background changes) will take on the tasks. Each task rotates to each group every month. Ruwi and her cousins Dina and Shazie are suppose to look towards the soil textures of the month, a chore that was tiring as the pixies have to ensure a good annual harvest.

There are constant complains if the crop did not prove to be fruitful and chief Jay was always on the war path, holding meeting after meeting with the pixies, to discuss what better was to yield a better harvest without the use of artificial fertilizers that the humans are becoming accustomed to.

Dina for one found this task distasteful. She loved chores like deciding the colour of the flowers, calculating the number of fruits for each plant, and adding the right amount of flavours to the brew to decide upon the taste of the fruits and vegetables. She had always been successful in keeping her dislikes to herself but this particular year she was gripped by a strange inclination to unveil her feeling and she couldn’t have chosen a better moment for the event!

“Since Shazie is still away at her aunt’s place for some fresh air, you and Ruwi will have to handle the forte between you...” began Naks, one of the elderly pixies who was sitting at the head of the table with Buds and Ernie, two other pixies of his generation.

Dina pursed her lips in an attempt to control her irritation.

Why, oh, why had she left her parent’s house last month? She could very well have extended her spell and remained there for an extra month to avoid the hassle. And now Ruwi had gone and disappeared from the scene leaving her to get all the instructions from Naks.

“I’m sorry Naks, but I don’t think I would be able to handle the situation alone. As you can see, Ruwi is not here and Shazie is away...” she said but the old pixie cut her off with a wave of his hand.

“You can get some of the gnomes to help you out. They tend to the plantation and know the textures byheart. Russell will come in useful... if you can get the formulas out of him...” he added with a cough. Dina felt her temper rising. She did not like to deal with Russell for she had no patience.

Russell only took the trouble to act when he felt he should. It was extremly hard to get information out of him.

She was seething, just standing near her chair while speaking to her neighbour, a good looking gnome named Donnie, when Bonnie, an extremely young pixie kid came scampering to the head table and bounced onto her chair.

It was the pixie tradition for the pixies to hand their place at the head table to the younger generation when the time came but Dina always had an uneasy feeling about her place. However seeing the little pixie on her chair set her temper alight. With a snarl she grabbed onto her chair and dragged it back almost knocking off young Bonnie from her seat!

(To be continued)


Little Nightingale!


With the first sight
of the sun,
Tweety! Tweety!
Tweety! Twee.
Jumping to and fro,
Sang the little nightingale.

When the sun shone bright,
The music stopped slowly.
Half closing the little eyes,
Hummed the little
nightingale.

While the stars peeped out,
Searching for the
usual tune.
Sitting on a red rose,
Whistled little nightingale.

Rain came suddenly,
And soaked her very badly.
Shivering with cold
in its weak tune,
Dying song was sung by
nightingale.

In a sad husky voice,
Even in the death bed.
Sang the little nightingale,
And after, it sang no more.

D. W. Lilani
Anuruddhika
8 H, Sanghamitta
Balika Vidyalaya, Galle



A group of children of Vidyarthodaya Maha Vidyalaya - Pilana, displayed a dance at the Local Literary Art Festival in Galle. Picture by D. Siriwardena Galle district special correspondent

The Sri Lanka Festival for the Performing Arts held a music and dance competition at Bible House, Kollupitiya recently. The students of Kingston College International (Mutuwal) of Pre-Grade obtained Gold and Silver medals at this competition. Students seated along with the teachers.


The Elephant
Jeevana Dulawin Pitipana, Grade 3 ‘Manel’,
Sri Dharmaloka Primary School, Kelaniya

Going To Temple
Saleela Indeewari Karunanayaka
5C, MR/Olcot Model School

Waterfall
Oshala Perera, 5B
St Jude’s College, Negombo

Clown
G. Janani, Grade 5
Kingston College International
Wellawatte

 

 

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