|Capital (and largest city)
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
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
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
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.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
(To be continued)
With the first sight
of the sun,
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
While the stars peeped out,
Searching for the
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
In a sad husky voice,
Even in the death bed.
Sang the little nightingale,
And after, it sang no more.
D. W. Lilani
8 H, Sanghamitta
Balika Vidyalaya, Galle