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That bad??? July 23, 2008

Posted by habeshaviews in Ethiopia, Travel.

It was just a simple curiosity. I wanted to see how it was. I told my employers I will take a flight to Nairobi and will get back to Kampala by bus. They couldn’t be more thrilled so a few weeks later I was lining up next to my Ugandan and Tanzanian friends at Jomo Kenayta airport. And then it was my turn: “are you sure you are only going to stay here for a week? ´´ asked the lady behind the counter labeled -‘East African’


“Yes, Mam ´´ was my reply. She gave me a frowning face that says “don’t let me find you here after a week.´´


 I didn’t even have to think -why only me? There are large number of Ethiopians living in Nairobi and Kampala. Most of whom are refugees claiming political and economic causes. A large number of them came in the same way I did but they just never went back home.



Another incident was while I was leaving Kenya to Uganda by road .The immigration officer at the Kenyan border looked at me as if I were a felon or rather his next victim. He is used to taking bribes from my fellow Ethiopians.

“Are you leaving for good? ´´

“Yes, Sir´´

“But you were supposed to be leaving with in a week´´

“Sir, it says Sunday and today is still Sunday´´

He threw the form I was supposed to fill in at my face looking disappointed and murmuring something in Kiswahili.


Standing in another line –now on the Ugandan side of the border-I could here my fellow Ethiopians, who have just arrived in another bus. They had paid bribes to the Kenyans and are speculating about the Ugandan officers.

“But If you tell him that, he will know you are cheating´´said one of them in Amharic. Looking at him you will instantly realize how much he has suffered to get where he is now. Something has sucked the blood out of him. You can even count the bones on his face.


Once again it was my turn at the Ugandan immigration; the officer threw my passport back with out even looking at it. I pushed it back. He checked the documents and put a stamp looking at me in disbelief. It also took a minute to convince the lady who was checking passports at the bus gate that I was a legal resident in Uganda.


I kept on thinking why?  It is really that bad? Is the country that hard to live in for all these young men and women exodus to anywhere they’ve got the chance to?

In neighboring Uganda and Kenya, where the economic development is not that much better than Ethiopia, you can find hundreds of Ethiopians waiting for their resettlementto Europe and North America. Some make it there but many others stay in these countries for years. Living conditions are as harsh as facing constant abuse, lack of basic needs and health problems. Getting back to their country is one thing you don’t want to mention to these people. They just don’t want hear it. They came and go in every face, size and color .The majority being youngsters. And they just left me wondering “is it really that bad to live in Ethiopia???´´




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