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Wednesday, March 28, 2012






Written by Horizon Ethiopia Staff  


Hawassa can rightly be referred to as one of the up coming towns in Ethiopia. Situated 275 km southwest of Addis, just south of Lake Ziway and Langano and of course located by the lake from which its name is derived, it has of late become a very popular weekend destination for visitors from the capital and elsewhere.
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Driving to Hawassa demands a significant amount of caution as the highway leading there is known to be the scene of more traffic accidents than any other major roadway in Ethiopia. This is primarily due to the large number of midsize Isuzu trucks transporting khat or other goods on the moderately busy route. The carnage caused by these trucks is so great that locals have taken to referring to them as Al Qaeda’s.
Changes Afoot
Hawassa is a town of about 125,000 and growing fast. The pace of construction here is clearly on the upswing if not quite at the level of Addis and visitors from just a few years ago will be pleasantly surprised at the 24 km worth of newly paved roads that have transformed many of the formerly red clay roads into pleasantly drivable thoroughfares. Several new hotels have sprung up with yet more in the works. Currently, Tadele’s Enjory Hotel can claim to be the top dog with modern amenities including free WiFi in its lobby.
Lewi Hotel (whose owner is currently planning another upscale model close by) and Pinaround out the top tier of accommodation in the city while the previously government owned Wabi Shebelle on the lake is the most picturesque spot to stay at, situated right on the lake although it could definitely use a refresh (or a tear down and rebuild) quite soon.
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Given its recent purchase by Midroc Ethiopia, precisely such a fate may be its near future. Looking ahead, Haile Gebreselassie’s massive convention center which is nearing completion, looks set to supplant  all of the above in the quest for the best hotel in Hawassa, complete with fantastic views of Lake Hawassa from virtually any spot on the property.

Invasion of the Bajajs

Getting around Hawassa is a piece of cake whether you’re driving yourself or choose to take one of hundreds if not thousands of the Indian made bajajs that in recent years, have become the predominant form of transport in the city. The ride can be adventurous but the payoff is being able to take in the sights and sounds of the city without having to worry about navigating through the dozens of other bajajs not to mention the large numbers of pedestrians milling about the city.
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The other popular form of transport in the city are bicycles although their use (and to an even larger extent, that of horse drawn garees) has dropped off noticeably since the introduction of the now ubiquitous bajajs. But you will still see many locals zipping down the street on their bikes be they young, old, male or female.

Enjoying Hawassa
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They call Lake Hawassa Ye’Fikir Hayk (Lake of Love) for a reason. More often than not, you will find many couples enjoying a romantic moment on its shores along with many others walking along a boardwalk or chilling by the lake playing cards, bathed in the warm glow of a beautiful sunset on the horizon. Take a boat ride onto the lake if you want to enjoy the cool breeze blowing off its waters. Although we’re not experts on this topic, Hawassa must be a birdwatcher’s paradise judging from the variety of exotic looking species you can casually spot all around. One of the more curious sights around the lake are the large number of marabou storks around it (locally known as Aba Koda) frequently perched on fragile branches on their impossibly spindly legs.
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Going further into town, a quick walk down the main thoroughfare in front of the Sidamo Entertainment Hall will give you a good feel for the town and its teeming populace. Shopping ‘malls’ and stalls line the street and darting bajajs are everywhere. At the top of the street is the imposing St. Gabriel church which took 25 years to build and almost seems to be looking over the entire town from its vantage point. You could take a tour through the entertainment district but perhaps a quick stop for a bite to eat is in order first.
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Somehow, the food in Hawassa seems to taste better whatever you have and wherever you may have it. The entire area is known for superb beef and one of the best places to sample some is Lewi Hotel’s Mediterranean-esque, open air restaurant which serves up an absolutely fabulous Chikina Tibs along with a great rendition of a dish you will commonly find at many restaurants there, the Alicha Teferisho (or Alicha Fresh for short). The latter is basically a dish of mild fitfit and a boiled egg blanketed with an injera and a juicy looking chop poking out from the center. Fantastic!

Such a meal will no doubt leave you well prepared for a night on the town and happily, once you arrive in the entertainment district of the town, you won’t have to walk too far to go from one hotspot to the next. Note of warning, if you’re not to used to Hawassa’s clubs and the general heat the area serves up, carry a handkerchief with you at all times. In fact, maybe a gym towel might be better. Feben is a cozy bar with a barely lit interior but serving up a thumping mix of music that its patrons seem to appreciate very much.Yugovia may be one of the highlights of the area with a live band turning out hearty renditions of Ethiopian classics as well as modern tunes to another very appreciative crowd. Other options include Hotel Ply which tends to stray on the risqué side as well asNational and Inferno which we hear can be relied on for a jolly old time most of the time.
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Leaving laid back Hawassa can be hard. So before you head out, give the Lake of Love a lingering goodbye while relaxing in front of Shebelle #2 as you watch various birds fly around and monkeys playfully swinging through the trees. If you want to share your beer with your distant cousin, you will find them to be eager recipients but there’s no telling what ‘swinging under the influence” may result in for the monkey. And you’ve got a drive ahead of you as well, so we advise moderation for both human and non human primate alike.
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The government of Kenya and the African Development Bank have signed agreements totaling $366 million in financial aid for two projects: a geothermal steam field and a road upgrade, which will open landlocked Ethiopia to the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa. 
Kenya’s finance minister, Njeru Githae, and the African Development Bank (AfDB) regional director for East Africa, Gabriel Negatu, signed the agreements on March 12.
Of the total assistance, a $186.7-million loan from the AfDB group’s African Development Fund will go for converting what is now a 122-kilometer gravel road to an asphalt-paved highway. The upgraded road segment, from Turbi to Moyale, will include bridges and a drainage system. It will have two lanes up to seven meters wide in each direction as well as shoulders.
Separately, AfDB is funding improvements to a 198-km road section in Ethiopia, from Hawassa to Ageremariam, which will connect with the Turbi-Moyale segment. 
Kenya and Ethiopia have a combined population of 100 million and share a 1,000-km-long border but have no all-weather roads. The road from Nairobi to Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa, including the Turbi-Moyale and Hawassa-Ageremariam stretches, has an estimated 700 missing links.
For example, poor highway conditions have hampered Ethopia's coffee shipments. In January, Ethiopia moved ahead of Colombia to become the world’s third-largest coffee producer.
Once completed, the highway projects will expand Ethiopia’s access to international markets and assist in integrating eastern Africa economies. 
With the road improvements, trade volumes within eastern and southern Africa are projected to rise 25%, and trade between Kenya and Ethiopia will leap by 200% over five years, according to AfDB.


A stroll through Awasa

Walking along the asphalted streets of Awasa, among the crowds of high school and university students, merchants, aid workers, and cycle commuter, it’s hard to imagine that not so long ago these streets were dirt tracks. Awasa was founded only fifty years ago. As the capital of the southern region, it rapidly became a boom town. Benefiting from the de-centralization policy of the government, a construction rush over the past decade has transformed the town, ushering in a new mood of optimism and enterprise.


The new structures, interspersed with palm trees and newly opened restaurants, are making the town increasingly vibrant.The lakeside locations have especially made Awasa a favored destination for weekenders from Addis Ababa and the recently opened Lewi and Haile Resort are particularly popular.
With over 126,000 residents, Awasa is one of the fastest growing Ethiopian towns.
Smallest of the seven Rift Valley lakes, Lake Awasa has light fresh water and provides good fishing. The waters, teaming with tilapia, catfish, and barbus, attract good birdlife. These fish are preyed upon by the large concentrations of fish eagle, kingfishers, herons, storks, plovers. The lake side park of Amora Gedel has very pretty views across the lake to the mountains beyond, and is close to the early morning market where you can pick up a tasty fish for lunch. For a good view of the lake, you can climb Tabour Hill, around 5km south of town.

The town has a university, agricultural college, teacher training college, and a nursing institute. Its student population makes it a living city, rather than a petrified theme park. The nightlife is a highlight of any visit to Awasa. The streets transform at night and glow with neon lights. Network Club, in the Dashen Bank Business Centre complex, and the Fidel Bar and Restaurant are frequented by the university students. The Egovai Club in Piazza area is a custom-built dance club that serves the wider population.
The town’s chaotic, buzzing market, located just at the back of Arab Sefer (which harbors the biggest Muslim community), is a great place to absorb street life and pick up ripe, seasonal fruit. Commodities, such as coffee,cabbage, potatoes, grains are brought to the market and are directly supplied by the rural people themselves. Straw hats, baskets, and mats are available at the market.

A monument in honor of the Sidama people, the predominant people living in the area stands in the center of the town. The mosaic statue has a form of the enset plant, an essential plant that forms the main food of Sidama and southern people. It has a climbing tower and a fountain.
During my stay last weekend in Awasa, I learnt that some people are unhappy about the monument because they say it blocks the view of the Bete Gabriel Church, a large and impressive structure that stands in front of it. Some people suspect the monument was deliberately erected in the place to put the Orthodox Church out of sight which was becoming the landmark of the town. Protestantism is strong here and surrounding area following many decades of missionary activity.

Bicycling is a popular mode of transportation in Awasa, many residents commuting to work regularly by bicycle. Smaller lada taxis and scooters also choke the streets of Awasa. The scooters (called bajaji) have a bit of notoriety for racing one another through the streets, routinely picking up and discharging passengers in mi-traffic.

While the main roads are clean and neat, other smaller roads are not. As in most other urban areas of Ethiopia, no sewer system exists in Awasa. Liquid waste is disposed in the compounds of individuals or on the street.
Yet still Awasa is an extraordinary place, with the tropical vegetation and lovely, warm climate. Just give it a try and you are sure to get mesmerized with it.
Source: http://arefe.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/a-stroll-through-awasa/#more-4845

በሲዳማ ዞን ቦርቻ ወረዳ አስተዳደር ባለፈው ግማሽ የበጀት ዓመት በህብረተሰቡ ማህበራዊ፣ ኢኮኖሚያዊና በመልካም አስተዳደር ተቃሚነት ላይ ትኩረት ያደረጉ ተግባራት ማከናወኑን አስታወቀ፡፡የአስተዳደሩ ጽህፈት ቤት ኃላፊ አቶ ተመስገን መንግስቱ እንደገፁት በተጠናቀቀው ግማሽ የበጀት ዓመት 13ዐ የህዝብ አቤቱታዎች ለወረዳው አስተዳደር ቀርበው እልባት ላይ እንዲደርሱ ተደርጓል፡፡
በተለያዩ ምክንያቶችና ጊዜያት የአካል ጉዳት ለደረሰባቸው ሰዎች ሰው ሠራሽ እግርና ባለ ብረት የአካል ድጋፍ ተገዝቶ አንደተሰጣቸው ጠቁመዋል፡፡የገንዘብ ችግር ያለባቸው 28 ሰዎች በይርጋለም ሆስፒታልና ጤና ጣቢያ ነፃ የህክምና አገልግሎት እንዲያገኙ መደረጉን አቶ ተመስገን መግለፃቸውን የዘገበው የወረዳው የመንግስት ኮሚኒኬሽን ጉዳዮች ጽህፈት ቤት ነው፡፡



በወንዶ ገነት አካባቢ በሚገኘው በተፈጥሮ ደን ላይ ተነስቶ የነበረው የሰደድ እሳት ሙሉ በሙሉ በቁጥጥር ስር መዋሉ ተገለፀ፡፡
በሲዳማ ዞን የወንዶ ገነት ወረዳ የመንግስት ኮሚኒኬሽን  የጽህፈት ቤት ምክትል ኃላፊ አቶ ዮሐንስ ጉራቻ እንደገለፁት መጋቢት 8 ቀን 2ዐዐ4 ዓ/ም ከቀኑ 6 ሰዓት ጀምሮ ባልታወቀ ምክንያት ተነስቶ የነበረው ሰደድ እሳት ለ2 ተከታታይ ቀናት በመቆየቱ በ2ዐዐ ሄክታር መሬት ላይ የነበረ የተፈጥሮ ደን ሊወድም ችሏል፡፡
በተነሳው የሰደድ እሳት ምክንያት በርካታ ብርቅዬ አዕዋፋትና የዱር እንስሳት ከቦታው መሰደዳቸውን የገለፁት ምክትል ኃላፊው የእሳቱን መንስኤ ለማጣራት የወንዶ ገነት ደን ኮሌጅ ጉደዩ ከሚመለከታቸው አካላት ጋር ጥናት እያካሄደ መሆኑን ተናግረዋል፡፡
የእሳቱን ኃይል በቁጥጥር ስር ለማዋል የፌዴራል ፣ የዞንና የወረዳው ፖሊስ እንዲሁም የኮሌጁ ሠራተኞችና የአካባቢው ህብረተሰብ ከፍተኛ አስተዋፅኦ ማድረሃጋቸውንም ገልፀዋል፡፡
የወንዶ ገነት ደን  ኮሌጅ ማነጂንግ ዳይሬክተር አቶ ወንድሙ አክሊሉ በአካባቢው በየዓመቱ ለግል ጥቅማቸው ሲሉ በደኑ ላይ የሰደድ እሳት የሚለቁ ግለሰቦች እንደሚስተዋሉ አውስተው ይህ ተግባር ህዝብንና መንግስትን የሚጐዳ በመሆኑ ከድርጊታቸው ሊቆጠቡና ደኑን በባለቤትነት ሊጠብቁ እንደሚገባቸው ገልፀዋል ሲል ሪፖርተራችን ካጀ ጀንቦላ ከበንሳ ቅርንጫፍ ጣቢያችን ዘግቧል፡፡