Cloud of colonialism hangs over Queen Elizabeth’s legacy in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Central Asia.
By KATIE SONNENSEN
On the morning of Saturday, July 11, 2018, I stepped out of my hotel room in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa and found myself in a city of contrasts. The sky was clear and bright, a rare thing to witness in Africa. The buildings were tall and beautiful, the cobblestone streets clean and orderly. I immediately fell in love with Addis Ababa, and the feeling was mutual.
It was an excellent week to escape those difficult realities of life in a small town in a troubled region of the world – a life that is often made difficult by the burdens of the day-to-day reality of life in a big city like New York, London or Washington D.C. In a week, I went from the world’s most dangerous neighborhood to the home of a new-found friend.
My first stop on the long, four-hour drive (yes, Ethiopia is a big country) was my friend’s childhood home in Ethiopia. She grew up in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. After finishing college, my friend moved to Johannesburg, South Africa and now she makes her living teaching English and working at a university. She told me, “I want to move back to Addis Ababa.” This was after I told her I was moving to India to teach.
I asked why she wanted to return to Ethiopia. She said she had lived in Ethiopia as a child and she wanted to learn to be a teacher because she had always wanted to be a teacher. Her words really captured my heart: “I always wanted to be a teacher because I always wanted to bring education (to) children.”
“I had just come back from Washington D.C., where I had a few days off from teaching, and I got back to work and was at the bus stop when a