Category Archives: Opportunities


Denver Sister Cities International Axum Committee “2017 Tour Ethiopia”

SPEARHEADED BY David Landes (Debre Berhan 1968–70) and Chuck Kreiman (Asella 1968–70), and with the support of Gloria Curtis (Asmara 1963-65)  and Janet Lee (Emdeber 1974–76), Denver/Axum Sister Cities International is sponsoring a tour within Ethiopia from September 25 to October 9, 2017.  DSCI has extended an invitation to Aurora/Adama Sister Cities International and Corvallis, OR/Gondar Sister Cities Association to participate in what surely will prove to be a great adventure.

  • Travelers from throughout the U.S. will arrive in Addis Ababa and spend two days in the city.
  • The group will then fly north to tour the “historic circuit” of Ethiopia for five days.
  • Next the travelers have the choice of traveling to Gondar or to Adama to spend five days in the region of their choice .
  • Finally, the entire group will reunite in Addis Ababa for a city tour, shopping, rest and relaxation for three days.

The Itinerary follows.

For more information contact:

David Landes, 720-238-0901
Chuck Kreiman, 303-770-2827

. . . . . . . . .



Itinerary for All on Tour

Monday — Sept. 25: Arrive Addis Ababa at the latest.
In’quan dehna metah and “Welcome to Ethiopia.”

david-ethiopia-final-2Tuesday — Sept. 26: Ethiopia celebrates the Festival of Meskel, which commemorates the finding of the True Cross in the Fourth Century. Addis Ababa marks the holiday with a colorful parade of floats, music, and religious pageantry that culminates in the lighting of a huge bonfire, and we will take in all the festivities from a special VIP viewing stand in Meskel Square. This will be an unforgettable day!

Wednesday — Sept. 27:

  • Fly to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lalibela, perhaps the most memorable stop on Ethiopia’s historical circuit. Here, 11 unique rock-hewn churches were carved into the rugged mountainsides.
  • Enjoy an afternoon excursion to the first group of the 11 rock churches.

Thursday — Sept. 28:

  • A Mule trip through the countryside to the ancient Asheton Maryam Monastery at an elevation of 4,000m (13,000ft), with return by car.
  • In the afternoon, visit the second group of the 11 rock churches in Lalibela.

Friday — Sept. 29:

Fly to Axum, the epicenter of Ethiopian Christianity. Afternoon visit to the Obelisk Park. The seven granite stelae, the tallest rising to 108 ft., mark the royal cemetery where the tombs of kings are still being excavated. The stelae imitate multi-storied palaces and are decorated with carved doors, windows and beams.

  • Visit the excavations and explore the tombs.

Saturday — Sept. 30:

  • Visit Yeha, the 2,500 year-old ruins of a Sabaean city. The 40 ft. high stone temple, which now encloses a church, is inscribed with Sabaean inscriptions and reliefs of ibexes. Judaic relics and historical artifacts are housed here.
  • Drive back to Axum via Adwa, site of King Menelik II’s 1896 victory over the Italians that preserved Ethiopia from colonial occupation.

Sunday — Oct. 1:

  • Morning tour includes Axum’s museum, widely rated as Ethiopia’s best; the outside of the chapel where the Ark of the Covenant is said to have been housed for some 3,000 years; and the 17th century Maryam Tsion Cathedral (unfortunately closed to women), the holiest church in Ethiopia.
  • Sister City visits this afternoon for the Denver-Axum committee members.
  • For our other tour participants, why not spend the afternoon at leisure visiting some of the local shops for exquisite locally made clothing, jewelry, and handicrafts.
. . . . . . . . .



OPTION 1 — Adama Sister Cities itinerary

Monday — Oct. 2: Morning flight to Addis Ababa and drive on the new four lane toll highway to Adama (formerly know as Nazareth), a showplace of the nation’s transformation to modernity.

Tuesday — Oct. 3: Adama sightseeing, including visits to the Wonji Sugar Factory, the local train station of the new, Chinese-built Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, and the Oromo Parliament Building, symbolic of Ethiopia’s recognition of formerly ignored ethnic groups.

Wednesday — Oct. 4: A morning of Sister City visits for our Aurora-Adama Sister City committee members. Leisure time for everyone else. In the afternoon a relaxing and refreshing visit to the Sodere Hot Springs.

Thursday — Oct. 5: Adama-Lake Langano and an afternoon at leisure.

Friday — Oct. 6: Lake Langano is a popular destination for Ethiopians and international tourist alike, famousfor its variety of birds and other wildlife. Our wildlife viewing excursion will include both land visits and a boat trip on the lake itself.

. . . . . . . . .



OPTION 2 — Axum – Historic Route for non-Adama Sister Cities participants

Monday — Oct. 2: Today the long but rewarding drive from Axum to Gondar, the former royal capital of Ethiopia. The drive cuts through the impressive Simien Mountains — the “Roof of Africa.” This is Ethiopia’s most mountainous region filled with spectacular scenery and gorgeous views. Hopefully we will encounter birds and game like the Gelada baboon, Walya ibex, and the Simien fox — animals found nowhere else in the world.

Tuesday — Oct. 3: Gondar is the former royal capital of the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia, embodied in the castles of the Royal Compound, which led to its name the “Camelot of Africa.” Explore the castles and visit the Debre Berhan Selassie Church.

Wednesday — Oct. 4: Today our Gondar Sister Cities committee members will visit their local counterparts. This will be a leisure day for the other participants. FK Tours will offer an optional opportunity to visit the Ethiopian Jews (“Bete Israel”), the last of a once larger community many of whom have now emigrated to Israel.

Thursday — Oct. 5: Fly to Bahir Dar on Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile River and an area known for its island monasteries. Boat trip on Lake Tana to visit these ancient monasteries.

Friday — Oct. 6
: Excursion to the Blue Nile Falls. Great birding en route. Cross a 17th-century bridge built by artisans sent to Ethiopia from Portuguese India. Return across the Blue Nile River by tankwa, a traditional Ethiopian reed boat. After lunch, a guided visit of Bahir Dar town.

. . . . . . . . .

Final 3 days

The two groups reunite

Saturday — Oct. 7:

  • Return to Addis Ababa from either Bahir Dar or Lake Langano.
  • For the afternoon our F.K. hosts will offer a program of optional sightseeing activities, including a visit to the sprawling Merkato — the largest open air market in Africa.
  • This evening enjoy a traditional Ethiopian dinner followed by colorful folkloric singing and dancing highlighting Ethiopia’s cultural diversity.

Sunday — Oct. 8: Full day city tour of Addis Ababa: Menelik’s Mausoleum; National Archaeological Museum; a drive to Mount Entoto for a breathtaking view of the capital and a visit to Emperor Menelik II’s palace and the Entoto Mariam Church.

Monday — Oct. 9:

  • A day at leisure.
  • This evening  transfer to the airport for departures to the U.S.
  • Some of our travel companions may remain in Ethiopia for independent touring .
. . . . . . . . .


Note: Those taking the tour are responsible for arranging their own flights  and paying for their travel between the U.S. and Ethiopia.

Tour participants must choose one of the in-country options. It is not possible to do both. Prices are per person based on double occupancy,


  •  All transfers to/from airports in Ethiopia.
  •  Hotels including all taxes and fees.
  •  Three meals each day (only two meals on Sept. 26 and Oct. 9).
  •  All ground transportation by bus.
  •  Expert English-speaking guides throughout the tour.
  •  All taxes and service charges.
  •  Porters’ fees, tips to waiters, drivers and guides.
  •  All activities named in the tour description.
  •  All entrance fees.
  •  $200 tax deductible donation to the Axum Sister City Projects Fund.
  • Not Included are: Drinks, telephone calls, laundry, personal items purchased, excess baggage fees, vaccinations and medications, passport/visa fees.

— the cost for those choosing:

  • OPTION 1 — Adama Sister Cities Itinerary is $2,770.00.
  • OPTION 2 — Axum-Historic Route is  $2,930.00.


  • $188.00 if you arrive in Ethiopia on Ethiopian Airlines.
  • $544.00 if you arrive in Ethiopia on any other airline.
. . . . . . . . .



  • A $250.00 deposit is due at time of booking.
  • The balance is due 90 days prior to departure. (June 27, 2017)
  • Payments may be by personal check or credit card (with an additional 3.2% premium).

Cancellations: Tour participants are strongly advised to purchase tour cancellation insurance that covers cancellation for any reason. Cancellations received:

  • 90 days or more prior to departure (June 27), $100 per person.
  • 89–60 days (July 27): 25% of the tour price;
  • 59-45 days (August 11): 50% of the tour price;
  • 44–31 days (August 25): 75% of the tour price;
  • 30 days or less: 100% of the tour price.

Travel Insurance: Medical facilities are very limited. Tour participants are urged to purchase travel insurance that covers medical and hospital expense and also includes medical evacuation when necessary.

Single passengers: Single passengers can be accommodated with payment of an additional $400.00 single supplement. Please phone for details.

Extra nights in Addis Ababa: Available before and after the tour at $79 per person (double) per night. Especially recommended for passengers arriving in Addis Ababa the morning of Sept. 24.

Air connections: Passengers are responsible for making their own way to Addis Ababa.

Tour managers are not responsible for failure to take tour flights or for missed activities.

Required Documentation: United States citizens are required to have a visa to enter Ethiopia.

Medical and passport/visa requirements: Passengers are responsible for compliance with all medical and passport/visa requirements for entering Ethiopia. Please visit the Ethiopian Embassy website for up-to-date requirements.



Discovering the Inner Wild Man

by David Hunt (Debark 2008-10)

debarkI discovered the Wild Man late one night in year two of my Peace Corps service in a small town known as the gateway to the Simien Mountains — Debark. It wasn’t by accident either. I had been waking up more and more often in the middle of the night with entrepreneurial breakthroughs — both for my ongoing Peace Corps projects and for future venture ideas.

In many ways, my Peace Corps experience could be described as a dogfight against bureaucracy, constant attention, and unending frustration — not exactly the ideal environment for creativity. But somehow I was at the most creative, optimistic and energetic point of my 22 years.

My invigorated state of existence can probably be attributed to a combination of being surrounded by a classroom of young, eager students who dreamed big, some of the smartest entrepreneurs I’ve ever met; the thin air at 8,000 feet; and my solitary existence without peers, parents or colleagues to squash out-of-the box ideas.

Whatever the cause, it fueled late night searches for the long-missing link to a business idea an old friend, Dan Vinson, and I had been discussing over sporadic Skype calls at odd hours in the day. We had both reached the best shape of our lives in really non-traditional ways.David Hunt 2

I had recently discovered a “gym” only a block from my house where I had been living for a year. I joined immediately for the reasonable price of $2/month and started lifting car parts regularly with a handful of guys in my town.

David Hunt dan liftsDan was a backcountry wilderness ranger in Sequoia National Forest at the same time, and he had built an “all-natural” gym in the wild using trees, rocks and logs. We both agreed that our atypical workouts were not only much more fun than going to the traditional gym, but were getting us much better results.

We knew that this more natural way of moving and working out, functional fitness if you will, was something that would benefit a lot of Americans. Furthermore, we were both experiencing a simpler, more basic state of being — an increasingly desirable state for Americans (see the growing popularity of Yoga, Mindfulness, Tiny Houses, etc.); we both knew America needed to be re-introduced to the “Wild Man.”

Hans Holbein the Younger, sketch for stained glass window @1525

The Wild Man is a mythical presence entwined in medieval European lore. It lived on the outskirts of the villages, weaving between the town and the forest, and represented each community’s connection to nature. From my remote mud hut in Ethiopia, it was fairly easy to realize that as technology has taken over our daily lives, we’ve slowly become disconnected from the natural world, and the general population of America is being completely removed from their connection to nature. Dan and I decided to bring back this connection through outdoor workouts.

Now, nearly five years after discovering the Wild Man, we’ve begun to make some progress with our business idea. In March, Dan and I launched a Kickstarter campaign for monkii bars — an ultra-portable fitness device that enables you to workout anywhere. We aimed to raise $25,000 in 39 days. We surpassed our goal on day 2 and continued on to raise $111,000, which will enable us to launch our product and a brand that will revolutionize fitness.

Through all of this, I continue to share our story, the story of the Wild Man, and the story of my start in the Peace Corps working alongside Ethiopian entrepreneurs and learning how to embrace the wildness, passion, and purpose that have carried us to our success today.

Learn more about monkii bars at our website or to see our successful campaign visit Kickstarter.


Graduate School Options for RPCVs

By Danielle Hoekwater (Mekelle 2009–11)

It is hard to believe that just over a year and a half ago I completed my Peace Corps service.

Danielle Hoekwater outside Debri – near Mekelle

I served as a Health-HIV/AIDS Volunteer in Mekelle, Ethiopia from 2009 to 2011. Just a few short weeks from now I will begin my second year as a Peace Corps Fellow at Western Illinois University as I pursue my Master’s in Community Health Education. My time as a PCV has contributed greatly to my graduate school experience. During my first year as a Fellow I worked as a graduate assistant for WIU Health Center’s Health Education. I was able to assist with on campus HIV testing events, World AIDS Day, as well as a number of health screening and awareness programs that I wouldn’t have had the experience with or confidence to do if it had not been for my time in Peace Corps and the new skills learned through my program. This fall I will begin my second year as a Fellow and I look forward to starting my internship as an Employee Wellness Coordinator at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, IL. I am halfway through my fellowship and I can say that so far it has been a great opportunity for me to enhance my knowledge, use my skills and to help others. I am thankful that after I have completed this program I will have some great experiences behind me and much less student loan debt than many others who are finishing graduate school.

With all the great things that have come about because of my participation in the Fellows program, I find it surprising that not all PCVs/RPCVs are aware of the education benefits that are available to them. I would like to share some basic information on the programs to get you started in the right direction for your graduate school search. If you’ve completed your Peace Corps service or are close to COS, you may be trying to decide between going back to school and getting a job. If you’re thinking about graduate school, there are some great options for RPCVs. The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows and Masters International programs are offered through various universities in a many academic fields.

Paul D. Coverdell Fellows
Through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, fellows use the skills and knowledge they have acquired during service to help others in their universities and/or communities at home through participation in academic programs and internships. According to the Peace Corps website, seventy universities are currently participating in the Fellows Program. Fellows are required to participate in an internship, typically in an under-served community in the USA, before completion of their program. Benefits of the fellows program depend on the school and program, but may include tuition waivers and stipends. RPCVs are eligible to participate in the fellows program any time after completing service.

Masters International
If you are currently a PCV or RPCV, the Master’s International program is not you for as it requires that you begin coursework before starting your Peace Corps service — but it may be perfect for a friend who is considering the Peace Corps. Master’s International is a program that allows PCVs to use their service to satisfy internship requirements or program credit. There are over eighty universities that participate in the Master’s International Program. If you are interested in a Master’s International program you should apply to both the Peace Corps and a participating academic program separately. Once accepted to both, students typically complete one year of classes before beginning their Peace Corps service. Master’s International students may have the opportunity to receive tuition waivers, assistantships, or other benefits depending on the program.

If you are currently serving, I suggest starting with the information about graduate school that you may have received from Peace Corps during one of the conferences or training sessions. If you are an RCPV, the official Peace Corps website has extensive information and links to specific programs at various universities. You can search for programs on the Peace Corps website at “Universities and Programs.”

If these programs don’t match up with your career path, remember that universities love RPCVs and there may be other options, such as graduate assistantships, that may be available for you. Contact the desired program for more information.  It’s important to start early and be aware of deadlines, especially if you plan to apply during service, because we all know how unreliable internet and mail can be in host countries.

It’s important to note that attending graduate school may extend your non-competitive eligibility (NCE). RPCVs who successfully complete their service and COS are given one year of non-competitive eligibility. If you begin graduate school before your NCE expires, you will have the opportunity to use the remaining time after completing your degree. Please contact Peace Corps for additional information.


Teaching in Harar

Haramaya University  has openings for health professionals and teachers

by Thomas R. Syre (Addis 72–74)

During my time in Peace Corps in Ethiopia I worked half of my tour with the WHO Smallpox Eradication Program searching out smallpox cases in the countryside and vaccinating populations-at-risk in the Shoa province. I spent the other half of my time in Ethiopia developing health education materials and programs for the five Teacher Training Institutes of the Ministry of Education. My time in the Peace Corps was a wonderful experience.

Haramaya Gate

After retiring from a career in university teaching in the States, I returned to Ethiopia to teach public health education in the MPH Program in the Colleges of Health and Medical Sciences at Haramaya University in Harar. I am enjoying working with Ethiopians and expats who are well-educated, highly skilled educators and health professionals. The graduate students are mostly middle-aged health professionals from the fields of nursing, medicine, environmental health and sanitation, and laboratory technology. They are motivated and hard-working students. All classes are taught in English. Also, the opportunities to do meaningful and significant research are many.

There is a need for health professionals and educators to come to our Colleges of Health and Medical Sciences to teach. We need physicians and pharmacists for our MD program. We also need clinical nurses, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives for our BS and MSN nursing programs. There is a need for health educators, health administrators, epidemiologists, bio-statiticians, medical ethicists, and other health professionals for our MPH program and health officer program.

Haramaya University, which has about 4,000 students, has a beautiful campus complete with modern classrooms, administration buildings, a comfortable faculty/staff lounge, a conference center, supermarkets, restaurants, a gymnasium, out-door swimming pool, a university clinic and other amenities. The university provides free modern and comfortable housing on the main campus for faculty and staff on short- or long-term contracts. The salaries are good by Ethiopian standards. You can join the university any time of the year. The weather is wonderful: temperate and very comfortable year round.

Haramaya University was originally named Alemaya University. The university’s several campuses have a student population of 17,000 students and is one of the oldest and finest universities in the country. It was established fifty years ago as an agricultural college but has since expanded into a comprehensive university with Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. programs in a variety of disciplines. The university has a good site on the Web. I encourage you to visit it.

If you have any questions or would like additional information about teaching at Haramaya University, please contact me. I can be reached most easily by e-mail ( although I would welcome your telephone calls at 251-0920032663.  Come join me in a wonderful chance at a second act in Ethiopia.


Ethiopians on the silver screen

A film festival in New York offers a some interesting films from Ethiopia

The Sheba Film Festival which began last week still has several good films with Ethiopian themes remaining on its program.

On Thursday, May 16, “Migration of Beauty,” a documentary about the immigration struggles and successes of Ethiopians who settled in the Washington D.C. area will be shown.

A documentary on the life of Dr. Rick Hodes, who has been on television lately  promoting his  new and popular book, This Is A Soul,  will be shown on Sunday, May 16th.

Also on May 16th,  “Adera,” a feature film about an Ethiopian refugee fighting to survive  in Johannesburg will be shown. For more details on these films check out the Sheba Film Festival website.


Building for Ethiopia, Again

Returning to Ethiopia, a RPCV finds that being knee-deep in all that chika can be very rewarding

by J. Fred Gage, Gondar, Addis 63–65

Coffee in Debre Marcos

THE POT'S ON: the coffee ceremony in Debre Marcos

How does it feel to be a volunteer in Ethiopia again?  In a word: Terrific! Last September I volunteered for a Habitat for Humanity building project in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. I arrived in Addis a few days early to adjust to the altitude and explore the city once again. Leaving Addis before daylight we drove northwest on a much improved highway, stopping in Debra Marcos for lunch. After lunch we attended a coffee ceremony in a Habitat home. The aromatic plants scattered on the floor, the smoldering incense and the roasting coffee beans brought back a flood of memories. An old man present talked of the first Peace Corps teachers, the Norman Rockwell visit, and of a Volunteer who developed a special relationship with the Emperor because of something he wrote home.

That evening in Bahir Dar we were greeted at the Tana Hotel with news that the government had sold the hotel the week before and that room rates had increased 100%. After much haggling we decided to stay there, but eat elsewhere.

The build was a 25-minute drive away in the shadow of a colorful Coptic church perched on a hill. As we approached the work site for the opening celebration, we could see an undulating line of Coptic priests with their colorful umbrellas and hear the pulsing drum and the clapping of children in pink pinafores as they sang sweetly in Amharic of Jesus turning water into wine. Our band of twelve H4H Global Volunteers was being welcomed by the community of Bahir Dar.

Under construction

CHIKA-READY: a H4H house under construction in Bahir Dar

For ten days we worked side-by-side with new home owners and volunteers from the community in digging foundation holes, raising pole structures, pounding nails in green eucalyptus, and carrying rocks to build foundations that would not only preserve the structural integrity but also keep out water. We leveled floors and built stout walls of chika, that all too familiar mixture of mud and straw. Building with chika was a delight.

CHIKA, CHIKA: on your hands, on your shoes, everywhere

We rejoiced in the tactile sensation in gathering the chika, the satisfying splat as we slapped it on the walls and helped the owners, some whose fingers were diminished by leprosy, smooth the walls. It was hard work but curiously satisfying. Each day we had a morning and afternoon coffee ceremony. The women in the group were invited to dress in Ethiopian style and preside over the coffee ceremony. They also got to practice their injera making skills.

At the end of ten days we dedicated six homes by giving six new proud homeowners a bible and a key to their new homes. As Ato Yoseph of our Ethiopian staff explained, the bible was to remind the new owners of the covenant they had made with their neighbors and community to care for their new home.

We made no wine but through our labor we transformed mud and straw and eucalyptus poles and rock into homes. As the dedication ceremony wound to a close, dressed in new gabis given to us by the community, we all sang together .

This year in Debre Berhan
This August 14-27, 2010,  I will be leading a Habitat for Humanity build in Debre Berhan. I cordially invite you to join the team of twelve volunteers who will once again be building improved chika housing. Because of a rapid and steep 120% increase in cement prices caused by country-wide power shortages, chika remains the building material of choice. Habitat has been working in Debre Berhan since 2005 successfully completing more than 250 homes.

The Eva Hotel where we will stay is located close to the center of the town and owned by famed long distance runner Gete Wami. It is a relatively new hotel and provides both Ethiopian and European dishes. For more detailed information about how you can participate in this rewarding project back in Ethiopia go to the Habitat for Humanity website.  Or email me directly at Already E&E RPCV President Marian Haley Beil (Debre Berham 62-64) has signed on to join our team this summer.

Join me for an opportunity to build decent, affordable housing and experience Ethiopia once again.


A team leader job in Ethiopia

A pan-African consulting firm is looking for someone to lead an Irish-sponsored develop project in Ethiopia

Editor’s note: A friend of John Coyne (Addis 62–64) passed this job listing onto us. The deadline for the application seems to have gone by, but perhaps there may be some slippage. Worth exploring

KPMG Development Advisory Services, a pan-African practice operating in several countries across the continent,  is currently seeking a Team Leader for an Irish Aid funded Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP) in Ethiopia. The CSSP is a five-year programme with a total indicative value of € 24 million. The CSSP’s goal is to capacitate civil society in Ethiopia to contribute to national development, poverty reduction and the advancement of good governance and democratization processes. Its purpose is to strengthen the capacity of Civil Society Organizations  including engagement in policy and programme development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, all within the context of Ethiopia’s recently enacted Charities and Societies Proclamation .

The TL is responsible for overall programme management, including strategic development, publicity, grant management, institutional assessments, appraisal and approval of grant applications, financial management and reporting, monitoring, evaluation and lesson learning to the client. She/he will be responsible for ensuring that the CSSP meets its intended objectives and achieves value for money, and in particular controls and manages the CSSP capacity-building fund.

The qualifications include an advanced degree in relevant field such as sustainable development, governance, international relations; minimum 10 years of senior-level experience designing, implementing, and managing large projects in developing countries, particularly those aimed at promoting civil society participation and good governance with NGOs, donor agencies and governments. Experience of work with the Irish Aid, CIDA, and DFID preferably as TL in fund/grant and programme management assignments will advantage. She/he must have extensive management experience and strong leadership skills; proven ability to work and collaborate with host-country government officials, international donors, and civil society organization in Africa and particularly in Ethiopia.

To APPLY: Send electronic submissions to by January 25, 2010. Please send your cover letter, CV and references. No telephone inquiries, please. Finalists will be contacted.