culture and customs
family life
food security
justice and crime
social institutions
social relationships
spiritual beliefs
traditional skills

introducing the area


 quotes about communications
 key testimonies featuring communications

road in EthiopiaThe Meket region, previously quite isolated, has been opened up to the outside world by the building of a new road by the Chinese. Without exception narrators speak about this with great enthusiasm and are grateful that they can now travel by car or bus rather than having to make journeys on horseback or on foot. Several mention the benefits to trade and business that improved communications have brought. One (Ethiopia 15) believes there is potential for tourism since the area's many churches, monasteries and other historical sites are now accessible to local and foreign tourists.

Radio provides the other important source of information about events outside the immediate region, as well as possible employment opportunities elsewhere. Those who own or have access to a radio clearly appreciate the benefits; in those villages where no one in the community owns a radio its absence is seen as both contributing to, and being a symptom of, underdevelopment and isolation: "The town has not yet developed. No one has a radio. I told you that we get news at the church or the market place or at the place of mourning" (Ethiopia 1).

quotes about communications

"When I was a child I have travelled on foot to Kaskes in Delanta. There was no road then. People carried food for themselves and for their animals and travelled for a week or a month through the forest and the desert in those days. Some even died on the road. Now that the Chinese built this road for us, anybody, whether rich or poor, can travel by car to a distant place and come back the next day after doing his business. Because there is a road, they brought barley from Addis Ababa and dagussa from Gojam by vehicles here and saved our lives when the land refused to produce food."
Ayichesh, F/28, head of household, Ethiopia 1

"When someone dies, relatives will be selected from each village and they will be instructed to communicate the news to their respective villagers. These will in turn climb a hill and announce in a loud voice that so and so has passed away and thus summon them to the funeral. If it is a wedding, it will be communicated in the same manner at least 20 days in advance and also by sending letters to the relatives. If it is a Mahber (community association for those who share the same patron saint), you send a boy to invite your relatives and neighbours or you do it yourself at the marketplace or at the church."
Ayichesh, F/28, head of household, Ethiopia 1

"Those who have radios tell the news to others and then it spreads in the village. I follow such news in the hope that there are jobs for the poor so that I might work and support my children."
Zewde, F/38, housewife, Ethiopia 4

"I had my own radio in 1946. Now our children have bought their own radios. When I am able to, I go there and listen to the radio... I am really amazed at the achievements of science - travelling by air and by car, sitting here and speaking to a distant person by phone, contacting daily a government in another part of the world - all these amaze me... Having contacts with foreign governments is good, but there are also many non-believers and they are not good for our religion."
Berhanu, M/70, farmer, Ethiopia 5

key testimonies featuring communications

  No.   Name   Sex/Age   Occupation   Location  
Summary Transcript   1   Ayichesh   female/28   head of household   Gala Dejen (highlands)  
Summary Transcript   10   Hamza   male/28   farmer   Gumar  
Summary Transcript   11   Azenu   female/45   farmer/ female head of household   Meqerqeriat (lowlands)  
Summary Transcript   13   Mesay   male/28   farmer   Meqerretcha/Denkenna (highlands)  
Summary Transcript   14   Itiye   female/58   traditional midwife   Gebeya Meda (highlands)  
Summary Transcript   15   Muliye   male/37   farmer   (midlands)  
Summary Transcript   16   Mekonen   male/72   priest   Ganchire Gebriel  
Summary Transcript   19   Yaregal   male/41   farmer trained in beekeeping   Warkaye  
Summary Transcript   2   Negussie   female/45   market trader   Filaqit, Woina Dega (midlands)  
Summary Transcript   20   Melese   male/45   farmer   Denkena,Wodih Mado Mar Feriche (highlands)  
Summary Transcript   21   Mario   male/40   farmer   Filaqit town (midlands)  
Summary Transcript   4   Zewde   female/38   housewife   Highlands  
Summary Transcript   5   Berhanu   male/70   farmer   Flaqit (lowlands)  
Summary Transcript   6   Belay   male/18   student priest   Kurrisa (lowlands)  
Summary Transcript   7   Belay   male/41   blacksmith/farmer   Doba Giorgis (highlands)  
Summary Transcript   8   Yekaba   female/25   farmer/female head of household   Gala Dejen (highlands)