FACTS ABOUT ETHIOPIANS

PRIDE, IDENTITY AND RELIGION

A typical Ethiopian is proud of his/her identity. True any society in the world might feel the same way but for an Ethiopian it goes to a higher degree. He/she might not take it kindly when his/her values are critcized. This also applies to religion: while in the rest of the world it is ok to debate over a person's belief system, for a typical Ethiopian it is an untouchable territory. You need to be aware with whom you discuss and comment on such topics.

TREATMENT OF GUESTS

Not so many people in the world can be considered as welcoming to guests as Ethiopians are. Taking care of a guest means everything to an Ethiopian. Most of the time, if an Ethiopian invites you at his/her home, your host will go beyond his/her means to serve you the best meals he can. As a guest you will only be expected to enjoy the served meal and drinks. While it is customary that, in Europe for example, invited guests might join in to serve meals or to do dishes afterwards, in Ethiopia your host wants you to sit and relax: that is how guests are taken care of. In instances where you will stay with a family for some period, the treatment will go as far as doing your bed and "sparing" you from sharing the domestic burden.

This gesture of welcoming tourists and guests in general is most often misunderstood by tourists. In some cases some tourists staying with a family want to be part and play the role of being a family member. When he/she is denied of the opportunity a feeling of exclusion sets in.

FEELING OF EXCLUSION

A great portion of the Ethiopian population is shy, particularly shy of making mistakes. When it comes to communication very few Ethiopians have mastered international languages. Communication is therefore a barrier. Because of the difficulty involved in properly interacting and the fear of making mistakes leads many to keep silent. There are instances where, in a party for example, a traveler might feel left out or somewhat discrimnated because he might see other Ethiopians talking to each other but talk little when with him. There are many who are shy of making mistakes and it mostly stemms for that.

 

TIME CONCEPT

The majority of Ethiopians do not over work themselves. Much value is given to social life and have time at their disposal. Therefore much value isn't given to time. A person might arrive to an appointment an hour late. The one who arrived on time will not be seriously offended for waiting as this became a culture. Even a term called " an Ethiopian appointment " was coined to refer to delays.

This has nothing to do with disrespect but a culture of not giving too much emphasis to the concept of time. This is gradually changing these days but being aware of this point is important. If you have a meeting or an appointment make sure that you underline the importance of punctuality

 

Related links

 

- ETHIOPIAN TABOOS

- DO NOT BE SHOCKED

- DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND

-LEARN BASIC ETHIOPIAN CUSTOMS

-MUST KNOW ETHIOPIAN NORMS AND CUSTOMS

 

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