Ethiopia – Land of the ‘Burnt Faces’

Ethiopia – Land of the ‘Burnt Faces’

Ethiopia is without a doubt one of the most fascinating countries on the African continent. It has an incredibly ancient and cultural history and is believed to be (by some) to be a cradle of civilisation and the birthplace of Christianity.

Addis Ababa is Ethiopia’s capital city. It means ‘white flower’ and, at 2 400 m above sea level, it is the 4th highest capital city in the world.

The Great Rift Valley cuts through Ethiopia from northeast to south of the country and is the only physical feature of Africa that it visible from space.

ethiopia1According to legend, the True Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified was found by St. Helena – the mother of Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor who converted to Christianity – in the 4th century. A relic of that cross was later given to Ethiopia’s kings for protecting Coptic Christians in their country.  Meskel celebrates the arrival of the True Cross in Ethiopia and has been celebrated there for more than 1,600 years.

Ethiopia is considered the originator of honey wine, or t’ej, which the rest of the world knows as mead.

More than 70% of Africa’s mountains are found in Ethiopia. It is sometimes called ‘the roof of Africa.’

Ethiopia was the first African nation to join the League of Nations.

The Garima Gospels, the oldest illustrated Christian book, is in Ethiopia. It was written about A.D. 494 by the Abba Garima, a monk who arrived in Ethiopia from Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). According to legend, he wrote the book in one day.

Ethiopia is home to the Black Jews, known as the Falashas or Beta Israel (House of Israel). Various legends claim they are a lost tribe of Israel or descendants of King Solomon.

ethiopia2Coffee was first discovered by an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi in the Kaffa region, from which the word ‘coffee’ may derive, when he noticed his goats ‘dancing’ after eating the berries off the coffee plant. Coffee is the top agricultural export for 12 countries, with the livelihood of over 100 million people depending on its production, and it is the world’s second most valuable commodity after petroleum.

Emperors ruled Ethiopia until 1974 and all claim to be descendants of King Solomon of the Bible and Makeda (Ethiopian Queen of Sheba). Haile Selassie I was the last Ethiopian emperor.

Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I is considered the son of God among the followers of the Jamaican Rastafaria religion. In fact, the name ‘Rastafari’ originates from the emperor’s birthplace, Ras Tafari, which means ‘Prince Tafari’ in Amharic. Bob Marley was one well-known Rastafari. Although the Rastafari movement did evolve in Jamaica, it began in Ethiopia.

The Abyssinian cat breed, which originated in Ethiopia, ranks within the top ten most popular pedigreed cat breed in the U.K.

Lucy, a human fossil believed to have existed over 3 million years ago, was found in the Great Rift Valley in Ethiopia in 1974. She was named after the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, which was playing on the radio at the time she was found. Even older remains were found in Hadar in 2001. Dated at more than 5 million years old, they are the earliest known ancestors of modern humans.

Christian Aid is an organisation that provides urgent, practical and effective assistance where need is great, tackling the effects of poverty as well as its root causes. The organisation has been providing assistance and relief in Ethiopia for decades and AquAid continue to be one of Christian Aid’s main corporate sponsors, especially with a view to water provision projects in Ethiopia and other countries in need.





The Dinghy Stealing Seal

I was trolling through the Google avenues when I came across this article about a seal that took up residence in a dinghy of a couple that were honeymooning on an island. When I saw the photo, I snorted my Kenco Coffee  that I’d just served myself up from our AquAid Compact Boiler and narrowly missed electrocuting myself in the process.

From the article in The Telegraph:

A newly-wed couple were stranded on a remote island three miles from the mainland when a giant bull seal climbed into their inflatable dinghy and refused to budge for four days.

Eddie Stebbings, 35, and his bride Bee Bueche, 36, spent their first three months of married life together with a colony of Atlantic grey seals on Skomer Island off the Pembrokeshire coast.

But their wildlife adventure took an unexpected turn when a giant seal took up residence in the dinghy they used to reach the mainland.

Eddie and Bee were married in August and returned to the windswept island where they are wildlife wardens just in time for the seal pupping season.

Eddie said: “One morning in October the seal flopped itself into the boat.

“It refused to budge for four days and was at one point joined by another seal.

“He was about four times my weight, eight foot long and clearly not worried about people coming close to him.”

The couple chose to spend their honeymoon on one of Britain’s most remote islands, which they shared with over 400 adult seals.

Have another gander at the weight of this cubby chappy! Almost makes me feel good about my weight issues. (Then again, I don’t live in the icy cold water which would justify extra warm keeping blubber).

*Sigh* Oh well, guess I’ll just take another schlurp of my coffee … and where’s that Danish that I asked for?!


AquAid and the Coffee Station

During these winter months, our thoughts turn to keeping warm and a rather pleasant way to do this is by drinking a cuppa.

Today I’m concentrating on coffee.

Here’s some random info to keep your brain warm too.

Coffee shop culture has been ‘trending’ for decades now, in some instances ‘doing coffee’ is even more popular than meeting at the pub. People’s lifestyles and attitudes to their choice of beverages and where they spend their time to socialise have significantly changed – this could also be a factor of most societies becoming multi-cultural and a cup of java is the preferred drink instead of drinking alcohol.

A few little known coffee facts

Coffee is a term applied to the drink, the beans and the genus Coffea which is part of the Madder family.

There are over thirty species of genus, but we only use three of them.

  1. C. arabica
  2. C. canephora and
  3. C. liberica.

The coffee plants bloom fragrant white flowers but only for a few days.

It takes about five years to grow before a coffee tree can produce a full harvest.

AquAid not only supply a wide range of water coolers for the workplace and schools, but also a range of water boilers and hot drinks – Kenco Coffee being one:

There’s a wide range of authentic Kenco coffee flavours to choose from including:

  •         dark, medium or light roast
  •         Columbian, Kenyan or Carte Noir blends
  •         rich espresso
  •         creamy cappuccino
  •         de-caf coffees.

Happy keeping warm day to you