Everybody’s talking about the dam! Once upon a time we had the Millennium Dome, but Ethiopia has just started construction of the Millennium Dam, which will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed and create one of the continent’s largest reservoirs. Other countries, notably Egypt, are apparantly none too happy about the effect this might have on the Nile downstream and so it seems it is not possible to get international loans or aid to build the dam. So a big fundraising drive has been undertaken, with the government issuing bonds and the project being the headline news on the television for the last couple of weeks.
We get the sense that Ethiopians are very proud of the project and are overwhelmingly supportive. So much so, that yesterday the college instructors had a meeting and have decided to donate a month’s salary each to the project. Today there was even a meeting for students who have also been asked to contribute – some were saying afterwards they will give 30, 50 or 60 % of their allowance to the fund! This is remarkable as they are always complaining to us that they don’t have enough money for food. There have also been marches in support of the dam in town, and these shows of support and donations are being replicated all over the country. Above is a picture of the dam taken from the official website and below is a picture of the student meeting that happened today.