November 28, 2008


Today was the last day of field work for us, and this will be the last post from Ethiopia.  I’ll continue to update this site as the documentaries develop, and as we learn details on phase two of the research project.  I want to thank everyone that assisted us.  The students and faculty as Addis Ababa University for their guidence and translation services including Dr Abye Tasse and Asheenafi Hagos, Moges and the A-Team at Synergy Habesha for all their hard work in capturing the study on film, the Middle East Studies Committee, Barbara Turnage at Arkansas State University, Dean Gail Baker  and Tim Kaldahl and the University of Nebraska, Omaha, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the staff at KVNO for all their help behind the scenes, Dr. Robert Franklin for including me in the project, all the individuals that volunteered their time and knowledge to contribute to the study, all our new friends here in Addis Ababa for their kindness and hospitality, our friends and family back home who support us while we’re gone, and everyone who has looked at this site or heard my stories on their radios.  You’ve all made the project worthwhile, and without you we wouldn’t be doing what we are.  This has truly been a unique experience, and I’ve been touched by what I’ve seen and learned here.  If there is ever another opportunity to return here, I won’t hesitate a second to say yes.

Another very special thanks to Moges, Tatek, and their team at Synergy Habesha.  They made us feel welcome, and helped us find our way around, gave us rides, called cabs for us, made crucial connections for us, and showed us all the goodness that humanity has to offer.  They are a talented and caring group of people that will make a difference in their country and probably the whole world.  They are all welcome to visit anytime and I only hope I can return the favors as fully as they offered them here.



November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving for those back in the states.  We spent the day going to various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), to meet with them about the services they provide to youth in need.  We met with Dr. Abye Tasse of Addis Ababa University to hear about his research and that of his PhD students.  Dr. Franklin and myself then went to a meeting of aspiring film makers where Dr. Franklin gave a speech.  We did a lot of legwork today, gathered a lot of vital information, and made some new friends.  Check out the PODCAST page for today’s story with Dr. Tasse.


November 26, 2008


Work for us today was low key due to unavailability of subjects, however we made the most of our time, with an interview with local documentarian, Moges, who is capturing video for the documentary.  You can visit his production company’s website at:


Listen to Dr. Franklin’s interview with Moges:


We also held a discussion as a group to reflect on what we’ve observed so far.  Go to the Arkansas State University section of the page to listen to the entire discussion.


November 25, 2008


We left early today to go to the same compound we were at yesterday.  Today, we were to interview a group of homeless girls.  The film crew was on hand today to capture the interviews, and it was a long day!  The stories we heard today cast a spotlight on the lack of support and social services available here.  The groups living on the street form their own organizations to care for one another.  Many of the young women interviewed had children of their own, either living with them on the street, or with relatives.  Some spoke of abuse and disease as a part of their lives.  Other’s spoke of depression and suicide.  Go to the PODCASTS page to listen to today’s story.


November 24, 2008
Man washing in a stream

Man washing in a stream

We started early today (10am) and took a walk down the street outside the hotel and out into the city a couple miles.  There’s no hiding the disparity that exists here, going between people sleeping on the crumbling sidewalks under threadbare blankets, to high-class parties at the five-star Hilton.  Right outside the walls of the hotel is a shanty town of sheetmetal structures where the poor and homeless stay.  The hotel provides food in the form of uneaten food, that I’m sure is a strong reason for their being there.  We saw people washing clothes and bathing in water that looked absolutely revolting.  We also saw Mercedes-Benz driving on the street.  We looked for signs of hope on the faces of those begging on the sidewalk, but aside from momentary delight in receiving a few coins, we didn’t see it.

Not that all is hopeless for those without means in this city.  This afternoon, we met with a group of homeless young men living in a tarp shack behind a dumpster.  They’ve organized themselves into a refuse collection group that sells scrap and collects edible food.  One of them even shines shoes.  Take a listen to the new podcast up on the podcast section of the site.

Also take a look at the new page to include our fellow researchers from Arkansas State University.  They’ve already posted a podcast to define the project.  It’s well worth the listen, and it’s good to hear it in their voices.

Stay tuned for more updates.  I’ll jump on here as frequently as possible to provide information about our days’ activities and the people we’ve met.

I’ll be working on a pictures page tomorrow to get as many pictures as possible up.



November 24, 2008
Interviewing Asheenafi Hagos, PhD student at Addis Ababa Univeristy

Interviewing Asheenafi Hagos, PhD student at Addis Ababa Univeristy

Today, I met with researchers from Arkansas State University, and Addis Ababa Univeristy to get an overview of the study being conducted.  Dr. Patricia Guy-Walls, and Dr. Beverly Edwards from Arkansas, and Asheenafi Hagos from Addis Ababa gave me their time and knowledge on their research:


(click link to listen)

Patti, to answer your question, Addis Ababa is nine hour ahead of Omaha.


Safe Arrival

November 22, 2008
Addis 11/22/2008

Addis 11/22/2008

I arrived safe and sound in Addis Ababa this morning.  Most of the day has been spent getting my equipment in order.  Dr. Franklin and the rest of the team will arrive later tonight.  Addis Ababa is a friendly city.  Everyone I’ve met so far has been kind and patient with this traveler, and have helped me find my way around.  More will follow tomorrow.