Today is Timkat (or Timket, depending how you pronounce your as and es). Ethiopian Epiphany. In western christendom, this marks the time when the wise men visited Jesus, and the day when you’re supposed to get rid of your Christmas tree. In eastern christendom it seems to be about the baptism of john (not sure what his name was before he became john the baptist).
I’ve had a busy week, what with being dressed up as a Tigrayan shepherd, seeing a leopard, and making some good progress on various things that I am working on (I am actually working, it’s just that I’ve decided that it’s best not to go on about that on this blog – suffice to say, major steps have been taken in ensuring that Ethiopia continues its democratising journey and that UK aid is spent effectively. Ahem). So, today I had planned a day out of Addis, to Bishoftu and the Crater Lakes.
People who work in development sometimes say things that are bleeding obvious and pass them off as profound without really exploring what they mean or what the implications are. I may not be immune to this practice. Saying that “context matters” is one that particularly gets my goat, perhaps in part because as a sometime-geographer my job used to be about trying to understand/explain which aspects of context matter in what ways.
Thursday night – Christmas Day – was the night of the long-awaited Teddy Afro concert in the grounds of the Ghion Hotel. I went with a bunch of people from the Embassy. There were big crowds. To explain … Teddy Afro is very popular in Ethiopia (Addis?) in part because of his music and in part because at the time of the last elections he released some songs that became the focus of anti-government and pro-democracy sentiment.