Friday, December 13, 2013

This Ethiopian village has gained wealth, but has bred hostility inAwera Amba- Public Radio International

A man from Awra Amba plows the land adjoining the village.

Northern Ethiopia is rugged and poor. It is a place where people mostly get by as subsistence farmers. The government and international organizations like the World Bank have tried and failed for years to improve the well-being of locals. But then, one village went and did it all on its own.

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The community is called Awra Amba. About 500 people live here in simple wattle and daub houses, and they keep busy in a variety of money-making activities.
The village has a mill, where grain is crushed into flour. There is a textile factory, where villagers make clothes for themselves and to sell. You will also find a café, a tourist hostel, and two stores that cater to people from outside the village.
With all of these businesses, Awra Amba has managed to pull itself out of poverty. Compared with the rest of the region, the average income here is more than twice as high. Literacy rates are higher than in neighboring villages. Mortality rates are lower.
“Everyone here dreams of becoming more prosperous — that's a big reason why our economy has grown faster than others,” says Zumra Nuru, who founded the village 40 years ago as a kind of utopian community. He says at the time, he was dissatisfied by the injustice he perceived in traditional Ethiopian culture and wanted to organize a society along more egalitarian lines. He also saw the community as a way to increase wealth.
“We use all our time for work and to improve our village,” he says.
One reason the people of Awra Amba are able to work so hard is that they do not follow organized religion.
In neighboring Christian and Muslim villages, residents respect the Sabbath and holidays. “They have quite frequent religious days, so on those days, they don't go to [do] farming work,” says sociologist Ashenafi Alemu of Ethiopia's University of Gondar. “But for Awra Amba, this is not the case. They work every day.”
The lack of religion is not the only competitive advantage for Awra Amba. The village invests a lot of energy in educating its children and diversifying its economy. It also embraces gender equality. You will see women here doing what is traditionally considered “men's work,” like plowing, which effectively doubles the workforce.
But by ignoring the region's customs, Awra Amba has found itself under attack. Neighboring communities view the residents as heretics.
“They threw a grenade right into the center of the village once, but luckily, no one was hurt,” says village founder Zumra Nuru. “They've tried shooting members of our village. They've sabotaged our harvest on occasion.”
In recent years, the grenades and assassination attempts have more or less stopped, but anger and frustration remain.
“The Awra Amba community doesn't have any spiritual beliefs — not a mosque or a church,” says Abraw Argew, a farmer from a neighboring Christian village. “This makes them selfish. I hate the people of Awra Amba.”
The village may be unpopular among its neighbors, but it is becoming a darling of development experts. They say Awra Amba has a lot to teach poor communities about how to reduce poverty. The problem is that few will listen to those lessons, as long as the hostility continues.
In an effort to soothe relations between the village and its neighbors, meetings are being held monthly between residents of Awra Amba and residents of the surrounding villages. They talk about their differences.
"If you embrace religion, this place would be very colorful," said a man from a nearby Christian village at a recent meeting.
A woman from Awra Amba responded, insisting that her community is spiritual and moral, even if it is not part of an organized religion.
“What is religion?” she asked rhetorically. “I don't get it. You see the work we do. We care for each other and help each other. Awra Amba helps to build our country. Our neighbors are unreasonable to hate us.”
And that hatred is diminishing. People from neighboring villages have begun sending their children to the schools that Awra Amba built. They come to get their corn milled. They buy clothes from the factory and goods from the shops.
Through this day-to-day trade, a quiet revolution is happening. Slowly, the hatred is dispersing and is being replaced by a kind of curiosity. “How did this village climb out of poverty?” the people of neighboring communities are starting to ask.
Development experts hope those people will soon ask a related, more promising question: "How can we climb out of poverty, too?"
Credit: Some audio for this story is courtesy of the Awra Amba Experience/Write This Down Productions.
  • IMG_1869.JPG

    Credit: Gino Kleisen
    Zumra Nuru, the founder and leader of Awra Amba.
  • IMG_1630.JPG

    Credit: Gino Kleisen
    A man from Awra Amba plows the land adjoining the village.
  • IMG_1656.JPG

    Credit: Gino Kleisen
    Children attend kindergarten in Awra Amba.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Discovery of Ancient Spear Tips Confounds Evolutionists, ‘Raises Questions on Evolution’ | Christian News Network

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SpeartipETHIOPIA – Scientists are reconsidering evolutionary assumptions after man-made javelin tips were discovered in a geologic layer that, according to evolutionists, supposedly predates humans by 80,000 years.
During a recent archaeological dig, scientists unearthed numerous stone-tipped projectiles near Lake Ziway in central Ethiopia. The projectiles, which show clear signs of use, are puzzling to evolutionary scientists, since the geologic formation in which they were found is supposedly 280,000 years old. However, evolutionists claim modern humans did not evolve until about 200,000 years ago.
These unexpected findings were reported in the November edition of the journal PLOS ONE. In the article, the scientists confirmed that the sharpened stone artifacts were almost certainly used as javelin tips.
“Based on morphological parameters, these experimental points are described as effective hunting spears,” the scientists explained. “Combined results from the independent approaches presented here show that certain … points were used as javelin tips from as early as [279,000 years ago].”
Scientists also found evidence that the javelin tips were thrown at high velocities—a skill which only “modern” humans possess.
“We were only interested in testing the hypothesis that these tools were definitely used to tip spears,” Yonatan Sahle, one of the discovers of the artifacts, told National Geographic. “The eureka came much later as we did the analysis and found out that the features we were dealing with were the result of throwing impact, not thrusting.”
Sahle said the spear tips are evidence of “certain behavioral traits that are considered complex and mostly only the domains of anatomically modern humans.”
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This poses a problem for evolution, since secular scientists believe humans from this era were not capable of creating advanced tools and weapons. National Geographic admitted that the javelin tips “raise questions on evolution.”
Last year, the journal Science reported a similar discovery of spear tips that were supposedly 250,000 years older than evolutionists expected. One paleoanthropologist quoted by National Geographic likened the discovery to “finding an iPod in a Roman Empire site.”
Scientists who believe in Biblical creation say that these discoveries cast serious doubts on the theory of evolution. Brian Thomas, science writer for the Institute for Creation Research, told Christian News Network that the discovery of these ancient spear tips “leaves secular history with two interpretations, and neither appeals.”
“First,” Thomas said, “perhaps those who made this spear were not yet fully human in body shape—they still looked ape-like—but were human enough in mind to have built useful spears using assembly line-like cooperation. The problem with this is that modern and extinct apes have shoulders built for hanging by tree limbs—an anatomy that prevents them from throwing spears accurately enough to hunt. And the researchers showed that these African spears had been thrown. Throwing uses the same basic motion as pitching, and that requires the distinctly human body shape.
“The second secular interpretation,” Thomas continued, “holds that humans—fully human in mind and body—existed some 80,000 years before the evolutionary charts in textbooks and museums show. This is very embarrassing. Imagine the public mistrust that might result from redoing all those books and displays.”
Thomas said evolutionists will often find ways to incorporate the problematic data into their theories.
“In the past,” he said, “secular scientists have ‘solved’ problems like these by ‘re-dating’ the artifacts. Secularists may soon ‘discover’ that these spears in Africa were only 200,000 years old after all.”
“Fortunately,” Thomas concluded, “a third interpretation is available to scientists not locked into secular history. Real descendants of Adam and Noah migrated to Africa, then manufactured and successfully hunted with spears not long after the Flood of about 2400 B.C.”
Photo: National Geographic

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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.