Ethiopia from the Heart -By Andargé Asfaw
"Ethiopia from the Heart" is a photography book celebrating the landscape and culture of Ethiopia. It was always my dream to create a photography book about Ethiopia, the country of my birth. What I never imagined was that this book would be a messenger for change and hope.
I was not able to return to Ethiopia for 27 years. The diverse culture, historically and religiously significant regions, and the unique wildlife danced in my memories. My first trip to Ethiopia revealed that the country had suffered from the ravages time and political changes. The citizens, though incredibly generous and humble, were not the vibrant people from the past. The land in many areas was devoid of trees. I did not recognize the roads. The shocking truth is that many of the lush forests that I had enjoyed in my youth had literally disappeared. It was difficult to face the reality of what I saw. I discovered that the wood was being used for cooking, home building and for the making of coal for profit. The wooded areas that are still in existence are scattered across the country. Most of the wildlife exists in preserves.
I regrouped and decided that my book was going represent the beauty of the landscape and culture that book profits needed to help plant trees. The greater visions for the project was to introduce alternative energy cookers so that the more trees could remain after planting.
I made several trips back to Ethiopia. And though I really wanted to continue photographing in more remote areas, I stopped. I knew that the time was now to get the book into the world. So, Donna Jones and I created the book in our studio and self-published it. The book is carried in the United Nations Bookstore, The Smithsonian African Museum of Art and some independent bookstores. The very best place to buy it is right here on our site.
We have had an amazing response from people from all walks of life. I continue to meet and hear from individuals and orgs that want to partner or get involved with the re-greening of Ethiopia. I can wait for the seedlings to find their way to the soil and grow into mighty forests.
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