This Ethiopian village has gained wealth, but has bred hostility

10

Listen to the program at the link below

Northern Ethiopia is rugged and poor. It is a place where people mostly get by as subsistence farmers. The government and international organizations like the World Bank have tried and failed for years to improve the well-being of locals. But then, one village went and did it all on its own.

The community is called Awra Amba. About 500 people live here in simple wattle and daub houses, and they keep busy in a variety of money-making activities.

The village has a mill, where grain is crushed into flour. There is a textile factory, where villagers make clothes for themselves and to sell. You will also find a café, a tourist hostel, and two stores that cater to people from outside the village.

With all of these businesses, Awra Amba has managed to pull itself out of poverty. Compared with the rest of the region, the average income here is more than twice as high. Literacy rates are higher than in neighboring villages. Mortality rates are lower.

“Everyone here dreams of becoming more prosperous — that's a big reason why our economy has grown faster than others,” says Zumra Nuru, who founded the village 40 years ago as a kind of utopian community. He says at the time, he was dissatisfied by the injustice he perceived in traditional Ethiopian culture and wanted to organize a society along more egalitarian lines. He also saw the community as a way to increase wealth.

“We use all our time for work and to improve our village,” he says.

One reason the people of Awra Amba are able to work so hard is that they do not follow organized religion.

Written By: Don Duncan
continue to source article at pri.org

10 COMMENTS

  1. Wealth will win over poverty.

    Heavily armed jihad gangs will win over wealth.

    Lets hope they can develop the whole region and employ a heavily armed police force before Al-Qaeda, or the xtian equivalent, arrives.

  2. Through this day-to-day trade, a quiet revolution is happening. Slowly, the hatred is dispersing and is being replaced by a kind of curiosity. “How did this village climb out of poverty?” the people of neighboring communities are starting to ask.

    Development experts hope those people will soon ask a related, more promising question: “How can we climb out of poverty, too?”

    This is a very powerful tool in advancement of secularism in the third world. In the past two decades, Muslim fundamentalists of all stripes have waged a winning propaganda war to convince their fellow Muslims that religion is what makes people good as they hold out a carrot on a stick in terms of charity and various forms of social service. Now we have a successful village that achieved decent standard of living with no religion beating them on the head with previously mentioned carrot and stick. No wonder the other villages are hostile. This is unheard of! What an affront to the people of other villages who have invested everything in the power of religion.

    Let them rail at this village for a while. I predict that very soon they will quietly start to copy their successful methods. Money and status counts for a lot in that part of the world. They’re not stupid and they know a good thing when they see it, especially the young people who are desperate for jobs, housing, medical care and romance.

    How can we export this?!

    • In reply to #2 by LaurieB:

      Through this day-to-day trade, a quiet revolution is happening. Slowly, the hatred is dispersing and is being replaced by a kind of curiosity. “How did this village climb out of poverty?” the people of neighboring communities are starting to ask.

      Development experts hope those people will soon ask…

      I hope so, but I see resentment before imitation.

  3. This is perfectly delicious. Fantastic looking guy that, Zumra Nuru. He needs to be on t-shirts and posters. I have a new hero.

    How healthy we can be without parasites tricking us out of our wealth and distracting us from our work and the education of our children.

  4. No one likes to admit they have made a foolish investment. That is what turns jealousy into resentment. But their kids have not made any investment yet and they can see their successful peers in Awra Amba working fewer hours and spending more time in school, learning skills and playing. Whats not to like? Parents who invest in, rather than exploit, their children.

    Investing in kids has been the very source of our progress.

  5. It’s good to hear this village is still going strong. I heard about them a long time ago. Back then it was said that the village couldn’t rent more land and that the surrounding communities were trying to force them off what little they had.

  6. This story reminds me a lot of the Shinkyou community in Japan. In the 1930s, a priest in the Japanese Tenri religion became disillusioned with his religion when his daughter became ill and died despite all his praying. He gave up his mission church in Osaka and returned to his hometown. After he destroyed some Tenri altars and encouraged other families to do the same, he and the families that followed him were ostracized by the townspeople. To survive, the families banded together and worked their small plots of rice as a collective, even moving into the same building and sharing all their livestock. They didn’t have enough land to survive on, so the community soon began making tatami mats as a source of income. Before long, the community became very prosperous, which fueled the hate of the townspeople even more. The community was very successful until the 1970s when it just seemed to disappear from the face of the earth. The early years were described in a book titled “Sensei and His People” by Yoshie Sugihara and David W. Plath.

Leave a Reply