04 May 2013 Leave a Comment
- I wish people would take time to personalize their holiday texts. I mean, who likes to receive the same Christmas tree built from mathematical operators, the same Bible verse about the resurrection,… more than once?
- Attended Holy Saturday mass for the first time in, it felt like the first time. Aba said the symbolism of the QeTema was that the dove had brought some to Noah to announce that the floods had subsided; same way Easter signifies that darkness is done with. Hard Googling… They also did a reading of the first three chapters of the Song of Songs. Would be fun to hear people’s interpretations of those.
14 Apr 2013 3 Comments
I have been preparing screensavers for my kindle. አንድ የድሮ ፎቶ ጎልጉዬ አወጣሁ።
My other photos (needless to say I didn’t take Atse Mnilik’s photo)
31 Mar 2013 2 Comments
Ever wondered what Qole means?
ቆሌ ስ የኣንደን ሰው ወይም ኣካባቢ ደህንነት
ይጠብቃል ወይም ግርማ ሞገስ ይሰጣል ተብሎ
የሚታሰብ እንደ ዉቃቢ፣ ዛር፣ ከራማ፣ ኣድባር፣
ያለ የባእድ ኣምልኮ መንፈስ።
ቆሌ ገፈፈ በጣም ኣስደነገጠ
ቆለውን ተገፈፈ ዉቃቢ ራቀው፣ ግርማ ሞገሱን
ኣጣ፣ በጣም ደነገጠ።
ባለ ቆሌ ቅ ዉቃቢ፣ ዛር ያለበት (ሰው)።
ቆሌቢስ ቅ ፩ ግርማ ሞገስ የሌለው፣ ጥላ ቢስ፣
ከውካዋ። ፪ ረድኤት የለሽ።
To those who don’t have Amharic font installed,
ኣማርኛ መዝገበ ቃላት
የኢትዮጲያ ቋንቋዎች ጥናትና ምርምር ማእከል
ኣዲስ ኣበባ ዩኒቨርሲቲ
26 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
The thousand aching fingers of love,
my love, come out jagged, imperfect
Letting go, being distant
Don’t trust it!
Count it a strange way of hanging on
Preserving what I hold most dear
Trust my love is there,
I have felt it pushing
Kicking and screaming
Held back by a weak creature
For all its might
Life’s just too short
For love to be free
So this, a plan born of giving up
The paradigm shift
Better off on its own, should I go first
I pray my love would be the blanket that keeps you warm
When people bound by duty peel off
And, dread that day, if my gaze is lowered
My eyes to never see the same again
When all and sundry is off to and back from
their jaunt to reachable heights
(will we ever learn?!for whom the bell tolls. etcetra etcetra)
I don’t ask much
Let my love be just a few proud feathers
Adorning the blessed wings you soar on
Lord knows, I bear witness, you are worth
A million feathers and more
One (To E and G)
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
14 Mar 2013 2 Comments
okay i know it says to be continued but i probably won’t continue it. it would go like you building a pyramid scheme as a solution. at the very end you would recognize your scheme as pimping but decide not to be judgmental. there would be a deep n meaningful song about pimping. and maybe one about Egypt, for the pyramid part. maybe this?
One Better Half (OBH as in the reverse of HBO)
10 Mar 2013 Leave a Comment
If you lived in Addis Ababa in 2005/2006, a friend may have approached you to sell you a great idea: work in your own time and make loads of money. It started with what was called Gold Quest, run by QNet. The business model was what is known as a pyramid scheme, a business that is downright illegal in many countries. I was working at 4 Kilo at that time. People were divided into two: ones who were in and ones who were out. Some of the latter ones were sick of friends from the other group nagging them. The “Questers” took the business model as a religion. There had after-work/school meetings, “educational” presentations and “inspirational” talks (at the Sheraton Hotel too – who can beat that?). There were pictures of a skyscraper building – supposedly Gold Quest headquarters and a professional-looking website. More and more Ethiopians kept buying over-priced items which they had no use for. One of these items alone cost thousands of birr.
Time went by. Those who didn’t join had already made up their minds and so the questers ran out of potential recruits. The hype gradually cooled off. A few other similar scams came out as well, some of which were selling themselves as “home grown”, by selling seemingly useful items. Back then I had the impression that it was all dying out. However I was furious when last week my very own sister suggested I buy products from Forever Living, yet another pyramid scheme scam. She tells me she spent 10,000 birr to join. She had also finished selling the products she bought and is making good progress recruiting new members. I have yet to talk to her out of it.
Why is it bad?
These scams can be damaging not only at the individual level, but to the entire economy of Ethiopia as well. I will not go into detail about this myself as there is plenty of information on the web about this. I list some below.
My mentor Jacob Eliosoff has had plenty of Ethiopians speak to him about pyramid schemes. He wrote an excellent article on it.
The Australian government has good educational information on pyramid schemes. Quoting (emphasis is mine),
Pyramid schemes are illegal and very risky ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes that can cost a lot of people a lot of money.
Promoters at the top of the pyramid make their money by having people join the scheme. Then they pocket the fees and other payments made by those who join under them.
In a typical pyramid scheme, a member pays to join. The only way for the member to ever recover any money is to convince other people to join up and to part with their money as well.
In contrast, people in legitimate multi-level marketing earn money by selling genuine products to consumers, not from the recruiting process. Be aware though, some pyramid scheme promoters disguise their true purpose by introducing products that are overpriced, of poor quality, difficult to sell or of little value. Making money out of recruitment is still their main aim.
People often hear about pyramid schemes from friends, family or neighbours. Normally, pyramid schemes recruit members at seminars, home meetings, over the phone or even by mail. Now email, usually as spam, is increasingly used to recruit members as well.
For the scheme to work so that everyone can make a profit there would have to be an endless supply of new members. In reality, the number of people willing to join the scheme (and therefore, the amount of money coming into the scheme) dries up very quickly. When the pyramid collapses (and they all do) relationships, friendships and even marriages can be destroyed over money lost in the scam.
In Australia, it is against the law not only to promote a pyramid scheme, but even to participate in one.
Now, not all bad things are illegal. Luckily, pyramid schemes are illegal in many countries and I wish the Ethiopian government paid more attention to it. A section in the FBI website describes how pyramid schemes are franchise fraud (emphasis is mine),
…pyramid schemes—also referred to as franchise fraud or chain referral schemes—are marketing and investment frauds in which an individual is offered a distributorship or franchise to market a particular product. The real profit is earned, not by the sale of the product, but by the sale of new distributorships. Emphasis on selling franchises rather than the product eventually leads to a point where the supply of potential investors is exhausted and the pyramid collapses. At the heart of each pyramid scheme is typically a representation that new participants can recoup their original investments by inducing two or more prospects to make the same investment. Promoters fail to tell prospective participants that this is mathematically impossible for everyone to do, since some participants drop out, while others recoup their original investments and then drop out.
I have not yet found solid information on how much money Ethiopians spent on these scams, not to mention all the time they wasted putting their work aside and talking about rubbish all day. This article seems to reports 4 million dollars lost.
Pyramid schemes which operate/operated in Ethiopia
QNet/Quest Net/Gold Quest http://www.qnet.net/
Forever Living https://www.foreverliving.com/
I am concerned about these scams. If you know other scams or if you have something else to add, please comment or email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Please convince yourself first, and educate people you know.
13 Jan 2013 2 Comments
BBC have an episode on this. The “dangerous road” theme aside, it was good to see the journey.
17:00 (1000 birr? ትንሽ አልተወደደም?)
32:40 (you didn’t think the priest would do a practical joke on you did you?)
44:20 (በሉ ተቃቅፋቹ አደሩ)