By Amb. Robert Shetkintong
ADDIS ABABA – Accompanied by my wife and two young children – Sarah and Raymond – I arrived in this beautiful country 11 months ago. In fact, our children have grown up in East Africa as I had served earlier in Tanzania as India’s Deputy High Commissioner for three and half years between 2015 & 2018.
Therefore, we were so comfortable with the region when we arrived in Ethiopia in October last year. For my family, East Africa is our second home.
11 months have gone so fast. I have met, made wonderful friends not only in the government, but also in the business community, in the academia and I have met wonderful people in the streets.
Now, I can comfortably say that I have friends from Gondar, Bahir Dar, Kombolcha, Debre Birhan, Semera, Dire Dawa, Adama, Arsi Negele, Hawassa, Dilla, Arba Minch, Ambo, Welkite, Hosana, Dambi Dollo & Nekemte.
One thing that I learnt from them is that Ethiopian people live and cherish their family bonds, and their connections with relatives, their communities. Many people still maintain connections to their villages.
Every Ethiopian looks forward to this time of the year in September – you have a big holiday period of Ethiopian New Year followed by Meskel. It is this time of the year, when many people who live in different parts of the country to earn their livelihood, as traders, as businessmen, as laborers, as teachers, as office workers – go back to their families and relatives to celebrate this beautiful festival. Families burn the Chibo fire, gather to bond around this fireplace, sharing their joys and sorrows.
It is also the time of the year, when the Ethiopian landscape is dressed in its most beautiful golden colors of the Adey Abeba flower (bright yellow flowers).
There are Indian families that have made Ethiopia their home for the last 4-5 generations. Some families have joined them in recent years. They have established their business here and have contributed to the economic prosperity of this country. For all purposes, they are Ethiopians. They celebrate all Ethiopian festivals including the Ethiopian New Year & Meskel.
On behalf of my fellow citizens in Ethiopia, I wish all my sisters and brothers in Ethiopia a very bright and prosperous New Year and joyous Meskel celebrations.
The message was written By Amb. Robert Shetkintong to Ethiopians on the occasion of New Year