“Entwined Lives” is my first really personal blog. It’s the direct result of my return visit to Ethiopia in May 2012, for the first time since returning to the States in 1967. A couple of years earlier, I’d discovered that one of the Ethiopian students who’d lived with me and my Peace Corps housemates in Addis, Tariku Belay, was alive and well and living in Minneapolis. Then, a year or so later, the day before I flew to Minneapolis to reunite with Tariku, I learned that another former student who’d lived with me in Addis, Tesfagiorgis Wondimagegnehu, was alive and living with his wife Almaz in Addis. I had been out of touch with both of them since the mid-1970s, when the regime of Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown and a reign of terror began under the dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, and I assumed they’d been killed, along with hundreds of thousands of other young Ethiopians. Finding the long-lost Tesfagiorgis in March 2011 got me to thinking seriously about returning to Ethiopia after almost half a century. And seeing old friends from my Peace Corps training program at UCLA and reuniting with a former Ethiopian student now in the States, Abe Abraham, at the Peace Corps fiftieth anniversary festivities in Washington in September 2011 sealed the deal. I was definitely going back.
Having spent a wonderful two weeks in Addis on my homecoming trip, getting reacquainted with Tesfagiorgis and another former student, Berhane Mogese, and meeting many of their friends and family members, I came back to the US determined to write about my Peace Corps and Ethiopian experiences and about the lives of former Ethiopian students and my fellow Peace Corps colleagues. Thus was “Entwined Lives” born.
The first five blog posts you will read here originally appeared at a less accessible site, so they are being re-posted here at Entwined Lives in the order they were originally posted.
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