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introducing the area


 quotes about migration
 key testimonies featuring migration

Generally, migration is not such a key issue in these testimonies as in other collections in Mountain Voices. One narrator refers to the seasonal in-migration in the past of workers from Raya (a lowland area to the east), who were employed to do various agricultural and domestic tasks. However, she comments: "Time has reversed everything. Now it is our turn to migrate" (Ethiopia 2). As hardship has increased - and especially when famine has occurred - Meket people have had to migrate, usually returning to the area when the crisis has passed. One man explains how he coped: "During the 1966 famine I didn't have a wife or children. In 1985 I had a few children. I got some assistance from my relatives in town and because of this I didn't migrate. We managed during the rainy season just by feeding on cabbages which we ate with salt and oil. [Those who] migrated, they tried to make a living by weaving clothes and working as daily labourers. When it rained and those left behind cultivated their crops, the others returned. The community supported each other, shared what little they had" (Ethiopia 9).

Young people are also moving out of the area to seek employment in the cities since families' plots of land are too small for parents to divide among several children. Seasonal (male) migration is common and there is also mention of priests, who depend on alms for their survival, having to migrate because of the general hardship. Yet it seems that the scale of out-migration is not yet changing the community as significantly as it is others on this website.

quotes about migration

"There was drought in 1966 and as a result many people migrated to Gojam and Gonder and returned after a year... In 1985, a pest called deyiri destroyed the crops. People again migrated due to the food shortage... The drought prevented the cultivation of crops and caused food shortages. People were also too poor to afford to buy food. They were also physically too weak to work and earn an income..."
Haji Zekiy, M/57, Qadi (Muslim religious leader and judge), Ethiopia 9

key testimonies featuring migration

  No.   Name   Sex/Age   Occupation   Location  
Summary Transcript   16   Mekonen   male/72   priest   Ganchire Gebriel  
Summary Transcript   17   Melku   male/67   priest   Guranboba Monastery (highlands)  
Summary Transcript   3   Lemlem   female/67   farmer/ nun   Woina Dega (midlands)  
Summary Transcript   9   Haji Zekiy   male/57   Qadi (Muslim religious leader)   Tcherqos village (highlands)