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Perspectives

January 22, 2010
The Ethiopian dream: come to America then go back home

A young boy in Addis Ababa. Photo: Tesfaye Negussie

Tesfaye Negussie is an American journalist whose parents emigrated from Ethiopia. Last month, Tesfaye traveled to Ethiopia to visit family and friends.

He writes how the desire to emigrate to America is common in the Ethiopian psyche — along with an equally strong desire to return to the homeland.

It was an elaborate scam: a beautiful bride, a dashing groom, a smiling best man and bridesmaids draped in matching gowns.

The photo was taken to bamboozle American immigration officials. Apparently, the bride was already living in America, and the groom, living in Ethiopia, just wanted to further his education in the U.S. So, he paid her a couple thousand dollars to marry him.

I’ve been told that some Ethiopian men living in America return to Ethiopia for a few weeks just to find a wife and bring her back to the U.S., even though they barely know each other. The man gets a young pretty woman who shares his culture, and the woman gets to come to America.

This is similar to what I used to hear of the young teenage women who lived in rural parts of Ethiopia. They would be married off to wealthy landowners who could afford to pay big dowries to the girl’s parents.

Still others come to America through diversity visa lotteries — a program that gives visas to countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The Ethiopian dream is just like the American dream — but with a twist. Ethiopians come to the U.S. to make a living yet often return to Ethiopia to retire.

The dream also casts its fairy dust on Ethiopian pop culture. Ethiopian TV, films and music often depict the experiences of Ethiopian-American immigrants.

Men’s Affairs is a comedic film that follows the antics of a poor Ethiopian carpenter who lies that he lives in America and is just visiting Ethiopia, so that he can get the girl that he desires. For my Father is a drama about a girl who breaks up with her boyfriend to marry a rich man from the U.S.

Ethiopians in America remit about $1.2 billion per year to their families back home. This amount is second only to the total that Ethiopia receives from exports. For the most part, Ethiopians go abroad to make a better life for themselves and give back to their families in Ethiopia, but most dream of returning again.

I grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, which has an estimated 200,000 people of Ethiopian descent — the highest concentration of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia. As a teenager, I remember learning that Ethiopians owned many of the big nightclubs in the city. As soon as they made enough money, they sold their clubs, and returned to Ethiopia to rejoin their families and invest in their country.

My parents and many of their Ethiopian friends who live in America have lived in the U.S. for about three decades. But they still talk about how they will return to Ethiopia once they retire.

There is a sense of pride that links most Ethiopians to their country. We feel the joy of being with family and a yearning to stay close to our rich history and culture.

We also have a tacit amour-propre, as children of an ancient civilization and the vanquishers of the menacing evil of colonization. Moreover, we are the gatekeepers to an array of ethnicities, languages and religions that have coexisted for centuries.

And even though Ethiopia is now poor, most Ethiopian emigrants dream of the day they will return. Many of them will visit several times before permanently returning — coming back to a country that changes in the blink of an eye.

Ethiopia is the fourth fastest growing economy in the world, according to The Economist. Even though so much has changed, the love is the same, and it feels like they never left.

Many Ethiopian-Americans born in America will stay and raise kids here.  We, unlike our parents, have grown with American culture and taken it as our own. But our pride for Ethiopia burns strong. Many of us speak broken Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Gurage — or the language of whatever region our parents are from.  We will dress in green, yellow and red patterns.  Or wear shirts with pictures of Halie Selassie, as to say, “I am Ethiopian.”

Because the Italians, Jamaicans, Mexicans, Chinese and others who settled in America share a similar journey as the Ethiopians, the Ethiopian-American story is the American story.

Tesfaye Negussie and his grandmother.

So, that is also my story.

My grandmother, who lived with us in America for 10 years, is now back in Ethiopia.

I visited her for several days in Addis Ababa. Since she is very old, it may have been my last time seeing her.

The day I was leaving, I had a terrible stomach ache from something I ate. My grandmother pulled out the one thing she knew would cure me: an old dingy plastic bottle filled with holy water.

It was refreshing as she poured the cool water on my aching belly and head. As she recited prayers under her breath, I remembered those days that I would go to her room to wake her up for breakfast, when she would already be awake thumbing her rosary beads.

And when my sister and I would return from school, she’d hand us huge chunks of ambasha bread that she had prayed over.  And we’d have to finish it. Even though our stomachs were full from whatever junk we had picked up at the ice cream truck, we obediently finished every crumb.

Afterward, we would sometimes take Grandma for a walk because she had been inside all day, and this was her only chance to spend some alone time with her grandchildren before Mom and Dad came home.

The water gradually warmed on my skin, and I felt the touch of my grandmother’s fragile hand on my forehead as she prayed. And then my stomach didn’t hurt anymore.

It was good to be home.

– Tesfaye Negussie

For more Worldfocus coverage of Ethiopia, visit our extended coverage page: Ethiopia Past and Present.

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Comments

54 comments

#54

As a west African I love seeing how passionate the commentators are about their beloved Ethiopia, especially when there is an inference of any underhandedness going on.

But people from the developing world must realize that immigration in the pursuit of a better life compels people to do devious things. That’s universal, whether a Mexican going to the US or an American to the UK or Canadian to UAE–people lie cheat steal, its not just you but accept that your people do it too.

Finally, the comments remind me of Russians who scream on forum when anyone says anything less than glowing about their country. He talks about people wanting to return but doesn’t delve into why many can’t–there’s a problem in all our lands Africans, but be honest about the roots if you want it fixed.

#53

I really did enjoy your article in your own perspective. It’s always inevitable that you will get an off the wall reaction on your own opionion or how you see an issue. We should give people room to voice their opinions with out having to worry does it make everyone happy. When are we going to learn the only way up is if we hold each other and respect each other and as well as our views. Let us be part of the solution and not the problem, as long as we are honestly attempting to be part of the solution let us not waste our energies on how WE only see it.

#52

I really did enjoy your article in your own perspective. It’s always inevitable that you will get an off the wall reaction on your own opionion or how you see an issue. We should give people room to voice their opinions with out have to worry does it make everyone happy. When are we going to learn the only way up and if we hold each other and respect each other and as well as our views. Let us be part of the solution and not the problem, as long as we are honestly attempting to be part of the solution let us not waste our energies on how WE only see it.

#51

ለተስፋዬ
ተስፋዬ በጣም ግሩም የሆነ ቅኝት ነው ሁላችንም የምንጋራው ነው። በጣም ደስ ይላል በተለይ ኢትዮጵያዊ አሜሪካዊ ሆኖ ለሀገር ቅን መመስከር አግባብነት ያለው ነው። እንዲህ አለፍ አለፍ እያልክ ስለ ሀገራችን ብዕርህን ብትሰብቅ መልካም ነው እላለሁ። ከቻልክ በአመት በአመት ካልሆነ በሁለት ወይም በሶስት አመት አንዴ ወደ እናት ሀገርህ እየሄድክ አረፍ እያልክ ብትመጣ ብዙ ነገር ትማራለህ ሀገራችን እጅግ በጣም በጣም ብዙ የሆኑ ምስጢሮች ባለቤት ናት ከትንሹ ነገር ህይወትህን ሊለውጥ የሚችል ትምህርት ልታገኝ ትችላለህ። ከሁሉም ከሁሉም ግን ስለምን እንደሚያስቡ ለምን እንደሚኖሩ የማያውቁ በሐገር ፍቅር ስም ጸረ ወገን ጸረ ሀገር ልጋትህ የሚሉትን ከእንቅልፉ እንደባነነ ሰው በደመነፍስ የሚለጥፉትን አስተያየት ከቁብ እንዳትቆጠረው አደራ!!!

ለአፍራሽ አስተያየት ሰጭዎች
እውነት ምን አይነት አዚም ቢደረግብን ነው እንዲህ የወገን ጥላቻ በደማችን የገባው? እንዴት አንድ ሰው የታዘበውን ስለ ጻፈ ብቻ ወያኔ ይባላል። እንዴት ያለ ነውር ነው ሌላ ኢትዮጵያዊ ያልሆነ ሰው ቢጽፈው ማንሽም ትንፍሽ አትይም ነበር ገና ተስፋዬ የሚለውን ስም በማየት ብቻ እንደዚህ ያለ ስድብ መሳደብ አግባብ ነው። በየስንቱ መጽሄት ጋዜጣ ድህረገጽ የግል እና የአገርን ክብር በሚነካ መልኩ ስንሰደብ ስንዋረድ ስንቋሸሽ የት ነበራቹ? የማንም ውራጃም ነጫጭባ እየተነሳ በሀገራችን በወገናችን በወንድሞቻችን ላይ ትውከቱን ሲያዝረበርብ የት ሄደሽ ነው አዳሜ አሁን ደርሰሽ ነብር ልሁን የምትይው?

ለምንድ ነው አንድን ግለሰው በግድ ወያኔ የሚል ታርጋ እየሰጡ ማሸማቀቅ ማደናቅፍ ጋሬጣ መሆን? እደጉ ተመንደጉ መባል የሚገባቸውን ወጣቶች ባልሆነ ጥላቻ ልባቸውን ለመሙላት መሯሯጥ? የፈረስ ጉግስ ስሌትን በግል ህይወቱ ሂሳብ የሚያወራርድ እንዴት በሀገር ደረጃ እድገትስ ሊያመጣ ይችላል? ይህ ወደፊት ጥሩ እመርታ ያለው ወጣት ያደኩት ዋሺግንተን ዲሲ ውስጥ ነው እያለ ምን የሚሉት ድንቁርና እና ድድብና ነው በወያኒኛ ማባዛት?። እኔ ያልኩትን ካላልክ እኔ ባየሁበት አይን እይ እያሉ በስድብ ቁም ስቅሉን ማሳየት? ምን ብሎ ይጻፍ እንደ ሰዎቹ ኤድስ ወላጅ አልባ ህጻናት ረሃብ ድንቁርና ዘረኝነት ጎጠኝነት ጦርነት ድርቅ….
ኢትዮጵያውያን ወደ እናት ሀገራቸው የመመለስ ጽኑ ፍላጎት አላቸው፤የኢትዮጵያ ኢኮኖሚ አደገ፤ባገኙት አጋጣሚ ተጠቅመው ወደ አሜሪካን ከመጡ በሃላ ሀገር ቤት ያለ ቤተሰባቸውን ዘመዳቸውን ለመርዳት ቀና ደፋ ይላሉ ሲባል አይኑ ደም የሚለብስ ሰው ኢትዮጵያዊነቱን እጠራጠራለሁ? ምን አለበት ደሞ እኮ ከራሱ ብድግ አድርጎ አይደለም የተናገረው ዋቢ ጠቅሶ ነው። ነገር ግን በኢትዮጵያዊ ደንብ ይሁን በጀ! ነበር መባል የነበረበት እኔ እንደተረዳሁት ጋዜጠኛው የመሰለውን ያየውን ነው የተናገረው።

አያቴ አምባሻ ቆርሰው እንካቹ አሉን ቢል የዘር ፖለቲካ ካርድ ለመጫዎት መሽቀዳደምን ምን ይሉታል? ባይሆን ጎሽ ጎሽ እንዴት ያሉ አያት አሉህ ከሳቸው ብዙ መማር ትችላለህ ኢትዮጵያውያን እንዲህ ናቸው ሁሉ ነገራቸው የአብሮነት ነው ይህ ጠንካራ እና ቅን ሃይማኖታቸው ላንተም ተርፎ የሆድ ህመምህን አስታገስህ ብሎ ቅን ቅን መናገር ሲቻል በየትኛው ስሌት ነው ወንድም እና እህቱን አሳልፎ የሰጠ ተብሎ የሚወነጀለው? ። ደሞኮ የሚደረግ ነገር ነው አዲስ አበባ ስታዲየም እና ዋናው ፖስታ ቤት ያሉትን የደላሎች ብዛት ማየት በራሱ ኢትዮጵያ ለመጀመርያ ጊዜ የሄደ ሰው ላይ የሚፈጥረው ራሱን የቻለ ትእይንት ነው። ምን እሱ ብቻ መንገድ ላይ የቆመ መኪና እየተደገፍን እየተነሳን የምልከው ፎቶ የስንቱን ወጣት ልብ እንዳማለለ ግልጽ ነው።

እንደዚህ ያሉ ታዳጊ ወጣቶችን ስለ ሃራችን ኢትዮጵያ ቅን ቅን የሆነውን ለአለም ህዝብ ለማሳየት የሚፍጨረጨሩትን እገቡበት እየገቡ ማሳደድ አግባብ አይደለም። በሰዎቹ ጋዜጠኞች ኢትዮጵያዊ ለራሱ የሚሰጠው ግለሰባዊ አመለካከት በአለም ላይ ካሉ ህዝቦች ብዝቅተኛ ደረጃ ላይ ይገኛል እያሉ ማንነታችንን ወደ ጉድጓድ ለመጨመር የሚሯሯጡ ጋዜጠኞች ባሉበት እንደ ተስፋዬ ያሉ ጋዜጠኞችን እደጉ ተመንደጉ ማለቱ ለአፍታ እንኳን ቸል ሊባል የማይገባ ተግባር ነው።

ኢትዮጵያ እጆቿን ወደ እግዚአብሄር ትዘረጋለች
ጠላቶቿም በፊቷ አመድን ይቅማሉ

#50

Special greeting to Mr. Tesfay
I have known Tesfay since he was a small child. I am proud of him and his work. Tesfay keep on telling it the way it is! Too bad your article will definitely prevent you from further eyewitness report by you.
Proud of you
Nasser

#49

Worldfocus do you axcept anyones writting just because they claim they are journalist?

Tesfaye you retract the whole article on your comment, what is the point of writting it at first place if you gona come back and change it all.
dude, do u’r home work. You remind me of my cousins who grow up here they think they know but they don’t. It is ok I forgive you. lol u care right?
Just don’t put u’r view as a fact, especially on western media because this people belive any thing they read, at least most of them. I hope Worldfocus viewers are much smarter. I am ha ha.

#48

The stats directly below are from 2007

#47

Hello all,

Regarding the statistics:

– 355 Ethiopians received visas to come to America by marrying American citizens. 575 Ethiopians got CONDITIONAL visas by marrying American citizens (meaning that they have been married for less than 2 years.) This is a total of 930 visas through marriage. http://www.travel.state.gov/pdf/FY07AnnualReportTableVIII.pdf

– 6, 871 came to America through DV’s. http://www.americangreencard.com/news.htm

– 436 came as the children of American citizens, and 1,026 came as the parents of American citizens. http://www.travel.state.gov/pdf/FY07AnnualReportTableVIII.pdf

Obviously, marriage is one of many ways that Ethiopians emigrate to America. Out of those who come through marriage, there is no way of finding out the numbers of who did it for love or who did it to gain opportunities in America. And even though we Ethiopians know that many attempt to come here by any means necessary (e.g. faux marriages, overstaying visa expirations, etc, etc.), we will never say it in public because we are afraid of the repercussions. NEWS FLASH people – United States immigration officials know we do it. Just like they know that many other immigrants from other countries do it. Why do you think they require so much evidence, and turn away so many who claim they are married?

The only thing I regret is the assumption that I appeared to make through my article – that most Ethiopians come here through disingenuous matrimony. I knew this wasn’t true when I was writing it, and it is obvious that it isn’t true from the statistics above. I, unfortunately, only realized the inference my article was making when I started getting the comments.

As for Ethiopians who return to the homeland after coming to America, I could not find any definitive data on the total number. But I am sure that most have not moved back to Ethiopia. The first large wave of Ethiopians came here in the late 70’s and most of them have not even retired. So, IN MY OPINION, (And it is OK for me to have an opinion in this article because it is a COLUMN, and not a straight news article) many Ethiopians in America are still waiting to make enough money, raise children or have a different political situation in Ethiopia before they return. What I was trying to convey was the sheer, unadulterated, heart-aching desire my parents, uncles, aunts and elders have to return home one day.

So, there you have it. Writing this article has been one hell of a learning experience. But I know this experience will make me a better journalist.

For those of you who are saying that I am Woyane or think that I am in any way affiliated with the Ethiopian government because of my reference to (of all things?) ambasha, I entreat you to read this article that I wrote on freedom of speech in Ethiopia. http://worldfocus.org/blog/2010/01/13/ethiopias-government-tamps-down-on-press-freedoms/9207/

I thank you all for taking the time to read my work.

GOD BLESS,

Tesfaye Negussie

#46

I don’t know why people are criticizing this writer. It’s his own personal sentiment and he’s attempting to tell his story. I think we should applaud him for giving his input on the subject matter and giving a young writer props for doing something productive and insightful.

#45

Feeling it!

#44

Feeling it

#43

The article has some true story to it. Starting from the marriage, Pride and a life as an immigrant in a foreign country, but it wasn’t backed with some facts.

#42

I’m ashamed at you Ethiopians who hurl insults, as though, this will get your point across. Let me give you a clue, a well thought out and intelligent response to the article would have sufficed. You know what they say though, those who lack education and insight, hurl insults, instead of making valid points. Regardless of whether or not I agree with the article, I am truly, truly ashamed of you all. And guess what, I’m Ethiopian so I’m probably cutting you a break. Who knows what others who have read this are thinking now becasue of the ignorant comments.

#41

People, People, People. We tell stories through our own perspectives, and there will be equally as many who agree and disagree. The most important part of it all is that we voice our opinion, we are all entitled to it. However, success hinges on our ability to evaluate and rectify not only criticize. So what are some resolutions? You see when organisms belonging to the same group fight amongst each other, we all know the possibility for progress — zero!. And that is an identified problem that most of us AFRICANS not only Ethiopians undoubtedly have. So support this author! Because he is another vehicle to voice our opinion, he is a guy who have had his fair share of mistakes, and he will continue to make mistakes. But through it all he has learned and I’m sure he will take some of your CONSTRUCTIVE feedback and put it to work. So if you are the kind that pout, whine and cry because someone mispronounced your name, go sit in the corner and let the DOER’s get to work. The authors deeds and intent should be what you’re judging.

#40

All in all relevant but not perfect. Remember he is threated like outsider in Ethiopia and nobody gave him a perfct information. Time changes. Todays ethiopians are not fools who think any outsider that speaks broken ethiopian language or perfect English is solving Ethiopia’s problem. Most young Ethiopians today know that a journalist is just a Werenga paid-talk-maker, who ever.

#39

After all you are talking non sense about economy ,change in blinking eye and marraige stuff . Do you think you should throw article boosting words rather than reality.I feel sham about you just guss and fuzz the reality the whole world waching. Sure Ethiopian loves thier family and helps thier family there is nothing wrong with that unless you try to make it a big deal. Think before you speak.

#38

Tesfaye,
You are a none other than a Woyane, Anbasha eater lier who hates Ethiopian. No one belive Ethiopia’s economy is ‘one of the fastest’ growing economy except your relative Woyanes at Menelik Palace. As someone said above, go eat your Ambasha rather than talking about the country that you are not a part of.

#37

TESFISH!!! I REALY LOVE THE STORY IT IS VERY HEART WARMING. ONE THINING I LEARN WAS THAT SOME THINGS , YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT IN THE ETHIOPIAN COMMUINTY … THE REACTION WAS NOT VERY POSITIVE FOR MY SPRIZE SURE SOME FOR LOVE SOME FOR SEX SOME FOR $ SOME MARIED A FAT WHITE CHICK TO GET BUY WE USE TO MAKE FUN OF THEM THEY THINK THEY ARE MARRIED TO FARANGE BACK THEN IT WAS THE COOL THING TO DO , BACK THEN YOU KNOW A TV THING THE WHITE CHICKS LOVED THEM . I WAS TOLD ONCE A GUY WHO WAS 32 YEAR OLD GOING 9TH GRADE IN HISCHOOL BECOUSE HE CHANGE HIS AGE TO COME TO USA. HE WAS DONE from 4kilo I WAS TOLD ONCE A NIGRERIAN MEN MARIED TO HIS MOM TO GET GREEN CARD. WHO KNOWS THE TRUE HART OF SOME ONE GIVE THE GUY A BREAK. IT IS TRUE ON BOTH SIDE FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT!!!! I COULD WRITE A BOOK AND DIE LOUGHING BEFOR MY HEAD GET CUT OFF LIKE THE OLD SAY FORGET ABOUT IT. THE WORLD IS A FORGAZI PLACE. PS NEXT TIME USE DEFO DABO FOR ANBASHA THAT WILL HELP TO on this kind of subject maters BEST WISH and love

#36

You said, “So, he paid her a couple thousand dollars to marry him.” … This is the most BS story I have ever read.

At least do your research and tell us the going rate. $2,000 is nothing – you juts made this up. It doesn’t even cover the transportation costs.

TAssfaye is full of BULLSH*T and tried to paint a bad picture of his own people. I believe that this so called journalist was rejected by Ethiopian women (look at him this Baria – who will go out with such an ugly guy) and he is trying to get even.

Shame on you TAssfaye.

#35

Hello Tesfaye,

I wonder why your family called you Tesfaye:) It is funny… You might have an Ethiopian blood, but not Ethiopian mind. You might have Ethiopian piece, but not Ethiopian taste.
Actually you have to have an Ethiopian mind to talk about the deep feeling of Ethiopians… You just read the cover of the book and tried to tell us the content of the book. Shame on you!!! As they say little knowledge is dangerous, you are tainting the image of Ethiopian Immigrants here in the US.

You have a long walk to do… It don’t matter what you have achieved in college. An Ethiopian home grown teenager will definitely teach you how to talk about Ethiopians. Cos, he is smart in the field. You are like the person who wanted to practice a surgery while he did accounting in college..

Think again and apologize us!!!

#34

Tesfaye! I bet your parents came to the US deceiving the system too, probably they used to be Mengestu’s cadres, because the way you write reflects those of the cadre’s character and that is the result of your up bringing. YOU ARE JUST ONE SAD PERSON!!! YOU NEED TO GROW OUT OF YOUR CADRE UPBRINGING! BANDA!

#33

ALL YOU PPL ON HERE SAYING THIS AND THAT HOW TESFAYE YOUR STORY MAKE ME SICK. DUDE HAVE A JOB TO DO WHAT DO YOU WANT HIM TO DO. MY THING IS FOR THE PPL HAVE A NEGATIVE REACTION TO HIS STORY, LETS ASSUME I OFFER MISRAQ OR WHATEVER A CHANCE TO COME TO AMERICA, REMEBER SHE IS IN ETHIOPIA SHE HAD A BIG DREAM LEAVING ET TO COME TO AMERICA. WELL MR’LION TOOK THE MONEY AND SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE AND WE GOT THAT FAKE ME OUT MARRIAGE IT LAST FOR ABOUT 3 YEARS IONO. BUT SHE THATS THE NAME OF THE GAME GET IT. ANYWAY THE MORE OF THE STORY IS THAT IS THE REALITY OF LIFE. WE ARE FLOODED OUT HERE NO SHAME WE TAKIN OVER AMERICA LLS/ SHE HAD LITTLE SMART THING TO SAY ABOUT HIS ARTICLE

#32

Tesfaye as an aspiring journalist you are doing what you are supposed to do which is collecting and disseminating information on trends, issues and all different types matters. Right? Wrong?… doesn’t matter. It is clear a lot of the people commenting below live their life in a nut shell fearing what may actually be true which is the authenticity of how many people actually marry just to get to the “land of opportunity.” I support this article and your writing for it is “REAL” and “ACTUAL” rather than “SAFE” and “FICTIONAL” I have a couple of family members myself who have married to come here. A little bit more of hard evidence, including figures could of helped. Keep writing. Great Work!

#31

stop writing empty wore. go eat your ambasha

#30

gud eko niwe. worejga. What evidence do you have? doma ras. what is your motive? who is behind this? yematakewen atekebetater.

#29

Tesfaye,

I have been thinking about it… this article is meant to talk about the Diaspora bad things or what? Why don’t you stick to your own story? I think you must have been told to write against Ethiopians by Weyane. What is wrong with Ethiopians these days? For greed or popularity they are selling their own people, brothers, or sisters, or parents for that matter.

#28

This is what the Economist says about Ethiopia, not like Mr. Tesfaye Nigussie says.

[quote][b]Worries growing about Ethiopia elections – The Economist[/b]
January 25th, 2010

ADDIS ABABA (The Economist) — Worries about Ethiopia’s election, due in May, are growing. Aid-giving Western governments hope it will pass off without the strife that followed the last one, in 2005, when 200 people were killed, thousands were imprisoned, and the democratic credentials of Meles Zenawi, despite his re-election, were left in tatters…[/quote]

#27

Article was well writen, but the problems in Ethiopia were not reflected here. Almost everything was make believe to put it mildly, most Ethiopians do not go back home. As far as the number of people residing in the DC are less than 20,000; and including the surrounding it was estimated to be no more than 40,000. Throughout the continental US there are 250,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans. While the numbers are a little inflated but the article is encouraging for those that want to go back to Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s economy is also growing well, but its mostly on the basis of assistance, not money generating inventions or manufacturing. Agriculture is not being exploited to its potential, but now with land dealing to foreign companies may bring better result, the problem is they own it not Ethiopians.

#26

Tesfaye:

Instead of talking about others, why don’t you tell us how your parents came to united states?

And if Ethiopia is registering double digit economic growth, why don’t you move there? you portrayed yourself as a man who loves his family and origin. so walk the talk. don’t blame others for trying to come to U.S as we know how many Ethiopians die in the sea of yemen to leave that forsaken land and so many died at the hands of hayinas and Lions in African jungles to reach south africa.

you grew up eating humberger and mccdonalds and you know nothing about Ethiopia and Ethiopians

#25

Mr. Tesfaye

I found you a bogus hypocrite. Your article is more like the Meles Zenawi regims propoganda. You tried to paint proud Ethiopians with a bad name. What is wrong if an Ethiopian goes to his country and bring a pretty pride who respects her husband, her home and her culture? Well, go and ask those blondies and blue eyes for marriage and you know what kind of attitude you will get from her parents. That is why i don’t believe you wrote that story.

and with little experience in Ethiopia, how could you talk for sure that Ethiopia is growing in a fast rate. For your info, Ethiopia is one of the largest donar reciepient in Sub-saharan africa, its people persecauted by the TPLF (Probably your parents, uncles etc) and almost more than 20 million eat just once in a day. So there is nothing wrong if Ethiopians migrate to other countries after all they migrate and work their ass of to support themselves and their loved ones.
If you wrote that article, you need to go to the library and check out why the Jews, the Irish, poles, British, German etc migrated to the U.S for centuries. you seem to have hate to your own people.

and also, can you provide the persentage or ratio of Ethiopians going back to their home land? ofcourse you don’t. let me tell you this. the reternee ration to the migrant is probably 1 to 50. that means for 50 people who left, only 1 returns back. why? you should answer that. Ethiopia is on the bottom of the index for interms of poverty and political insecurity. And if an old person chose to retire in Ethiopia, they have reasons. That reason is that with the retirement money they saved, they can remain in peace for whatever year left before they die. And this is normal in America.

I would suggest you read and educate yourself before you put yourself on a spotlight and make your speculation. Next time, bring your accurate data (hard evidences) than the usual no sense speculations

#24

Tesfaye
The American government does not care who we marry or for what reason as long as we can prove we are married.

I really did not get what the purpose of your article is but being an Ethiopian i wish you all the best Brother! Much love.

#23

Tesfaye,
generalization is dangerous and the marriage scams are not limited to Ethiopians only.

#22

That is such a sad story! and yet so intresting because it uncovers nothing but the truth and culture of real ethiopians. me likee :)

#21

ወሬኛ ነገር ነው ባካችሁ… ወንድሞቹንና እህቶቹን አሳልፎ የሚሰጥ…ኣሁን ስለሰዎቹ ጋብቻ ምን አገባው? ምን አስወራው? አቃጣሪ!!!…ምንም አዲስ ነገር የለም…በመላው አለም ላይ የፍቅር ጋብቻ አለ እንዲሁም የጥቅም ጋብቻ አለ….በጣም ብዙ ኢትዮጵያውያን እርስ በርስ በመጠቃቀም የብዙዎች ኑሮ ተቀይሯል:: እሱ አለኝ የሚለው ቤተር ላይፍ በወላጆቹ መሰደድ ያገኘው መሆኑን ሁሉ ረስቷል:: ይሄን ሰፋ አድርጎ ማየት ያልቻለ ጸሃፊ ሊሆን አይችልም::ደሞስ አሜሪካ የሚኖረው የሌላው አገር ዜጋ ሰው ከሚያደርገው ማጭበርበር; የምዝበራ እንዲሁም የሌብነት ስራ ሲነጻጸር የኛው ኢምንት ነው:: የሚያናድደው በአሜሪካውያን አንባቢያን አእምሮ ላይ ስለመጤ ኢትዮጵያውያን የሚቀርጸው ስቴሪዮታይፕ ነው::ማፈሪያ!!!…አሁን አያቱ ይሄን ቢያነቡ…የመረቁትን ያህል በረገሙት…በነገራችን ላይ የሱ ኢትዮጵያዊ ቋንቋ አለመናገሩ የወላጆቹ ላይፍታይም ስህተት እንጂ የኛ አይደለም…

#20

I am an American first, last, always. Those who come to the US only to earn a living and then return to where they came from are not immigrants they are jackels. The law allowing dual citizenship needs to be abolished. Then we can be assured those who want to be Americans know there is no looking back.

#19

Thanks Tesfish, your story is my story, I like it.

#18

I send my kids to ethiopia to be good ethiopian citzen.i am glad they do not grow like tesfaye.Other nationality who live in other country and usa never write about the marrage story like you wrote on this page.you and others who wrote this kind of article you will be asked by the us gov. where you got this kind of information and you have to provide the evidence to the story.and you will learn how to shut your mouth.

#17

Thank you Tesfaye for sharing this. It is very interesting story. The picture with grandma also touching.

#16

It is an old story. Nothing unique about us Ethiopians. You go back and study the life-expereinces of Italian, Polish, Spanish, etc immigrants to the U.S., for example and that is exactly what you get. I am sick and tired of reading the piece free-lancers write about Ethiopia or Ethiopians in this or that paper. When it comes to journalism Africa has become their guinnea-pig.

#15

the story was interesting, until the ambasha part…then my interest died, more a fantasy than reality…

#14

Well Tesfaye, you are opening the pandora box of all the refugees feelings for the homeland and their intimate memories of the kind that warms the heart.Your free style writing, I hope, was not directed at everyone as not everybody’s lives is not just about money and corruption.

#13

i do not agree with this article ,because most of the article is generalization . You were born here so please don’t right about stuff you heard about not seen . And what are you trying to do by stating the citizens marrying for money ?come on now, u thought you would detective of the year award . Learn about the stuff you are writing about .

#12

She’d hand us huge chunks of ambasha bread that she had prayed over.

#11

Tesfaye,

I like your openness and it brought the memory of my grandmother. However,I don’t think you should jeopardize Ethiopians’ opportunity to come to the U.S or go back home by alleging and posting it here that they marry just to come here or once they get their residency they go back home. Some maybe true but not all. Perhaps, you should just discuss in general rather than seemingly accusation of Ethiopians doing illegal things to come to Ethiopia or go back

#10

Some people are so blined specally ers'(not all) so just shut up and see how ethiopia is changing you just talk.YOU are talking and you will talk tomorrow you…las vegas

#9

las vegas,

I guess you came through the route that Tesfaye proudly articulated. It is an open secrete that thousands of dollars have been paid for a bogus martriage just to get out of Ethiopia. By the way, don’t get me wrong, the issue here is not about bogus marriage but about Ethiopians’ dream in America as part of ‘American dream,. Tesfaye’s account is not something that you speculate, it is onething that is happening right now. I appreaciate this young man/Tesfaye/ for his initiative to share his true experiences and the love that most of us share about ethiopia among ourselves. Tesfaye, I am very thanksful!

#8

Well I like the article, specially the relationship Tesfay has with his granny. The way he tried to bridge the generation gap between grandkids and grandparents. I thank you very much and God belss you.

#7

afterall, the article exaggerate the fact that marriage is taking placce Ethiopian in Ethiopia and those who live in USA. Not everybody is doing for money or opportunities. The article is trying to suggest that way. The very majority of the marriage are genuine and have last for decades. Don’t just pick one case and tain the rest as such.

#6

Tesfaye,

200,000 Ethiopians in DC area is overtly exaggerated. And not all Ethiopian immigrants want to go back, not even most I would argue. There were too many generalizations in your article.

#5

Tesfaye you are a good man .I really appreciate your parents who make you to love your home land .
God bless you

#4

[…] Worldfocus By Tesfaye Negussie January 22, 2010 […]

#3

Well said, you brought it all together.

#2

You get to America, get your “green card” make your money, return to the ol;d country and live like a king. Polish citizens have been doing it for decades. There are people in Poland who retired decades ago who are still alive because their Soical Security checks are still being cash. Hundreds are over 120 years of age. They will live at least until their great, great grandchildren retired to continue the scam.

#1

A well written article –Tesfaye you are making me homesick !!!

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