Our Man in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

 

 

Ron Peterson, P2R Account Director and published author, has embarked on a trip of a lifetime. Ron was a Peace Corps. volunteer more than 30 years ago assigned to assist in Peace Corps support efforts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This is an official “reunion-type” trip sponsored by the Peace Corps and the Ethiopian government. Ron left on his journey on September 22 and will be in Addis and other cities through October 8. He is the author of A Time to . . . A Baby Boomer’s Spiritual Adventures.

P2R will be posting his updates to this blog as we receive them.

Our Man in Ethiopia – Oct. 4

Hi:

The stone-carved churches of Lalibela (“Honey  Eater”) were spectacular. There are 12 of them, in two groups, connected by underground tunnels. A few of them stand close to 100 feet tall. I have great video of them, including a worship service with scores of priests chanting and hundreds of people attending. In the northern region of Ethiopia there are about 120 stone-carved churches that date back between 600-800 years old.

We also traveled to a 1,000-year-old church and small palace that were built-in a large cave in the side of a mountain. The remains of more than 5,000 pilgrims, from as far away as Yemen and The Sudan, lay in a pile in the rear of the cave. Many of them starved themselves to death after being blessed by the king/head priest.

These churches are all located in the SemienMountains, which must be seen to be believed with their high peaks and lush landscapes of rolling hills and valleys. I have great video of them.

Yesterday in Axum, the first Ethiopian kingdom some 3,000 years ago and home of The Queen of Sheba, we toured the remains of her palace, saw the tallest obelisk in the world at about 30 meters, stood outside the church which houses the Ark of the Covenant and visited inside the new, large circular church Haile Selassie built to serve the area.

It is hard to put into words how all these places inspire one regarding the power of faith in the lives of Ethiopians. I have also purchased a book with photos to learn more about these churches.

I will leave soon for dinner with |Alemu and his family and will take video of the traditional dancing and music that the restaurant provides.

Tomorrow, I’m off to Dire Dawa and Harar to see more of Ethiopia’s historic places.

Ron

Our Man in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ron Peterson, P2R Account Director and published author, has embarked on a trip of a lifetime. Ron was a Peace Corps. volunteer more than 30 years ago assigned to assist in Peace Corps support efforts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This is an official “reunion-type” trip sponsored by the Peace Corps and the Ethiopian government. Ron left on his journey on September 22 and will be in Addis and other cities through October 8. He is the author of A Time to . . . A Baby Boomer’s Spiritual Adventures.

P2R will be posting his updates to this blog as we receive them.

Our Man in Ethiopia – Oct. 1

Hi:

We’re in Lalibela this morning after leaving on a plane for a 30-minute flight from Gondar. On the flight, I sat next to a 32-year-old Ethiopian shopkeeper who was on his way to visit a sick relative in Axum, where we will be flying to on Wednesday. He was giving me lessons in Amharic to help expand my vocabulary. We had a good time chatting.

Gondar was great. We spent most of the day visiting the castles of the Ethiopians kings and their families that were completed in 1682 and occupied by the royal family for about 200 years. The 5 castles are side-by-side in a compound. I took lots of video, including a wedding ceremony of an Ethiopian couple who were dressed in western clothes. As we watched, a musician played the traditional Ethiopian, one-string guitar, and a woman danced a traditional dance. She invited several of our group, including me to dance with her. The dancing was primarily a matter shaking one’s arms and shoulders to the rhythm of the music while she sang. I hope to get a still photo of me from one of the group. I was also pulled into a group dance of Ethiopian women at the restaurant where we ate last night. I was exhausted after that and ready for bed.

Gondar was the capitol city of Ethiopia for many years and is now a regional capitol. It has many new, tall buildings, with many more under construction. It is undergoing great growth.

We also visited a church with many famous paintings that fill the walls and ceilings. I took lots of video of the church and the castles.

Today we visit some of Lalibela’s churches which were carved out of solid stone about 900 years ago. They will be great to see. Tomorrow we will see more of the same.

The weather is sunny and about 70 degrees.

As you can see, Internet is available just about everywhere we’ve been.

Bye for now.

Ron

Our Man in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ron Peterson, P2R Account Director and published author, has embarked on a trip of a lifetime. Ron was a Peace Corps. volunteer more than 30 years ago assigned to assist in Peace Corps support efforts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This is an official “reunion-type” trip sponsored by the Peace Corps and the Ethiopian government. Ron left on his journey on September 22 and will be in Addis and other cities through October 8. He is the author of A Time to . . . A Baby Boomer’s Spiritual Adventures.

P2R will be posting his updates to this blog as we receive them.

Our Man in Ethiopia – Sept. 29

Hi: 

We were on the road for 14 hours yesterday back to Addis so I had no time to email. Other than the long trip it was a good ride with lots of good conversation among the 10 people in the minibus and beautiful scenery that I captured on video. When we arrived at Alemu’s home at 10 pm, his wife, Maletu (“Rising Sun”) had dinner waiting and his daughter Andenet (“Unity”) had some pastry she bought for me because she knew I liked it. She told us about the 5-minute radio report discussing Alemu’s reunion with me and the Peace Corps 50th anniversary. We have become famous. Alemu also had a great idea about the two of us proposing a water project at the school where we met and we will be begin thinking about how we can make this happen. 

Alemu and I were up early (4:30 am) today to be picked up for my ride to the airport for my 9-day historic tour of the northern cities: Baher Dar, Gondar, Lalibella, Axum. I’m about to go to bed now after spending the day at the Blue Nile falls and on Lake Tana to visit a 16-century church on one of its islands. Words are hard to find to express the beauty of both the Blue Nile falls and its surrounding area. It’s a good thing that I caputured it all on video. It was a hike up a small mountain to get there but a most memorable experience. 

The boat ride on Lake Tana was peaceful and the walk up the mountain trail to the church was a little hike. I bought a few things to remember both places. 

Our hotel rooms here in Baher Dar make up for the ones in Nekemte, which were subpar because of the plumbing problems.   The rooms are new and beautiful with great amenities like a multihead shower (with hot water) and an in-shower radio. 

We’re up early tomorrow for a 3-hour drive to Gondar where we will visit the ancient castles of the old kings. 

I hope you are all well and will report again tomorrow if I can. 

Ron

“Our Man in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia”

Ron Peterson, P2R Account Director and published author, has embarked on a trip of a lifetime.  Ron was a Peace Corps. volunteer more than 30 years ago assigned to assist in Peace Corps support efforts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This is an official “reunion-type” trip sponsored by the Peace Corps and the Ethiopian government.  Ron left on his journey on September 22 and will be in Addis and other cities through October 8.  He is the author of A Time to . . . A Baby Boomer’s Spiritual Adventures.

P2R will be posting his updates to this blog as we receive them.

Our Man in Ethiopia – Sept. 27

Hi:

Yesterday was a long day, traveling 12.5 hours on a road that was paved for the first half of the trip and unpaved and under construction on the last half. After arriving in Nekempte we were turned away by our hotel because it said it didn’t have reservations for us, so we went to another hotel that didn’t have hot water showers. After dinner, Alemu and I walked around the downtown to get our bearing and spark memories.

Today, we got up early and walked to the house where I and Alemu had lived. Unfortunately it was replaced by a new building that is serving as a computer center. My friend Roland’s house that was across the road from mine was replaced by a college.  It was disappointing not to see the original buildings, but nice to see the places where they had been.

We then went to the school where the 3 PCVs in the group had taught 47 and 37 years ago. The building, built by the Italians in the 1930s were still being used as an elementary school, but renamed. I couldn’t see any of the school repair improvements I had made, which is not surprising after all these years. New building were also added about 3 years ago.

We then visited a friend of the Ethiopian student who were traveling with us and learned that my friend Tadesse had been imprisoned by the military government in 1976, the year I received my last letter from him in which he told me not to write to him again because he was going away. The day before he was to be released, he was executed for no reason. I’ve learned that this was typical of the “Red Terror” that was taking place at the time.

We will explore a little more around town this evening and leave for Addis early tomorrow morning. I’m told the drive should be about 2 hours less because the route we will take will have better roads.

Bye for now. It is really an amazing experience that is hard to put into words. I will have to have more time when I return to do this.

Ron

“Our Man in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia”

Ron Peterson, P2R Account Director and published author, has embarked on a trip of a lifetime.  Ron was a Peace Corps. volunteer more than 30 years ago assigned to assist in Peace Corps support efforts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This is an official “reunion-type” trip sponsored by the Peace Corps and the Ethiopian government.  Ron left on his journey on September 22 and will be in Addis and other cities through October 8.  He is the author of A Time to . . . A Baby Boomer’s Spiritual Adventures.

P2R will be posting his updates to this blog as we receive them.  Ron’s first two reports follow…

“Our Man in Ethiopia” – Sept. 24

Hi:

I arrived in Addis after a 12. 5 hour flight about 6 hours ago. Was greeted at the airport by the American ambassador to Ethiopia, the Ethiopia  Peace Corps Director and other officials. I had an emotional reunion with my friend Alemu and took a taxi to his home to meet his wife, daughter and grandson. It was a very joyous occasion with lots of conversation and good food and drink.

I’m in an Internet Cafe now with Alemu after he took me to his nearby bank to exchange my American dollars to Ethiopian Birr. We got caught in a heavy rain on our way to a taxi to tour the Piazza area. Unfortunately the taxi, an old toyota minivan held together with wires, didn’t make it far because it began hailing and raining hard. The taxi didn’t have a windshield wiper, seat belts or a defroster which made it hard to see. So we got out of the taxi to come here until the rain stops. We are invited to a free dinner at a restaurant billed as a mini Disneyland due to its extraordinary features. I’ll report on what I see later.

Tomorrow, I’ll tour around Addis in the morning with Alemu before heading to a Peace Corps conference followed by a reception at the American embassy. Alemu will join me for that.

A couple of the annecdotes to date from the flight are:

I sat next to two young Ethiopian women who have been living in Las Vegas for the past 6 years. They are returning home for a 2-month visit with their families. I also met a young Ethiopian who was returning home to bury his 27-year-old sister who died in childbirth due to complications.

Addis is much more developed, with lots of tall buildings all over. I’ll report more after I tour around.

Until next time,

Ron

“Our Man in Ethiopia” – Sept. 25

Hi:

Alemu and I had a great time last night at an Ethiopian restaurant with the 100 Peace Corps Volunteers on this trip.We were interviewed by a two radio stations and two TV networks to tell them our story. I also spoke with an official from the Ethiopian government in charge of development and exchanged business cards with him. He seemed interested in learning more about how P2R can help Ethiopia gets its story out.

This morning we visited the old Emperor’s palace and had an audience with the Ethiopian president with the rest of the PCVs and had our pictures taken with him.

Got to go to a conference now and then on to the American Ambassador’s residence.

Bye for now,

Ron

Why should companies add video to their existing marketing tool box?

Because studies show that a boom in online video has shifted how marketers view videos and how their customers seek new in formation. In fact, people watch more video online than they do TV! The growth in popularity of online videos can and should be on every company’s radar. Businesses are recognizing the use of online video as a highly-effective marketing tool. Nothing can give you the same exposure for such a low investment.  Got Video?  http://youtu.be/damCFLYQoVo 

Content is King

Increasingly, web marketing pundits are rediscovering the critical importance of content in online marketing activities.  That’s no news to P2R.  While cases can be made for the primacy of virtually any aspect of online marketing support, in any argument, content generally will be mentioned as a top – if not THE top component in an effective and successful effort.  That is certainly our view.

Content must be compelling, relevant, clear and well-written.  Graphics, copy, topic and presentation all must quickly capture, hold and motivate recipients.  Copy can go in a lot of different directions with regard to tone, style and structure, and still be successful – but it’s got to be good.  Quality has to be high.  Use of language has to be almost intuitive and connect with readers and style should suit the application, audience and objective.

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There’s far too much shoddy writing virtually everywhere.  Pick up a newspaper.  Read various online news sources.  Lingering doubts?  Google your favorite hobby, sport or pastime plus “forum” and read some of the posts.  Aside from online shorthand, one can quickly come to the conclusion that clarity of thought and articulate written expression have become lost arts for most.

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