What is tef and what is its connection with the Rafiki Training Village in Ethiopia? Tef (eragrostis tef) is a grain that is grown as a major crop in only one country of the world—Ethiopia. It is made into injera, a flat, spongy, and slightly sour bread that looks like a giant bubbly pancake. Pieces of the bread are torn off and used to scoop up spicy stews.
Nestled in the farmlands of the Oromia region, the Village is approximately 50 miles south of Addis Ababa near Mojo. It is an agricultural area with some light industry. The local languages are Amharic and Oromifa, and the local food staples are injera, tomatoes, potatoes, chick peas, cabbage, carrots, beef, and chicken.
The site of the Rafiki Training Village Ethiopia was once a large tef farm, but since 2009, the property is now growing children who will be future leaders for their country.
Like many African children, the Rafiki children enjoy playing football, but they also like playing catch and baseball together. They love to sing and pound out rhythms with percussion instruments. Their favorite hymns are Trust and Obey, Jesus Loves Me, and I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. The staff and children have found Psalm 23 and the Lord’s Prayer especially meaningful and comforting.
Ethiopia is a landlocked country in the northeast African region known as the Horn of Africa. It is a land of contrasts and extremes. Some of the most stunning places on the African continent are found here, such as the jagged Simien Mountains, one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites and the scorching Danakil Depression, with its sulfur fumaroles and lunar-like landscape. Most people reside in the western highlands as does the capital, Addis Ababa—the highest capital city in Africa at 8,000 feet. The Ethiopian economy is based on agriculture with most Ethiopians working as farmers and herders. Deforestation, drought, and soil degradation, however, have caused crop failures and famine during the past few decades leaving the people poverty-stricken.
Ethiopia is unique among African countries in that it maintained its freedom from colonial rule. with one exception being Italian occupation during World War II. In 1974 a military junta deposed Emperor Haile Selassie and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled by a coalition of rebel forces in 1991. A constitution was adopted in 1994 and Ethiopia’s first multiparty elections were held in 1995. The current head of state is President Mulatu Teshome Wirtu.
Capital: Addis Ababa
Area: 435,200 square miles
Language: Amharic, Tigrinya, Orominga, Guaraginga,
Religion: Ethiopian Orthodox 43.5%, Muslim 33.9%,
Protestant 18.5%, traditional 2.7%, Catholic 0.7%, other 0.6%
Life Expectancy: 60
GNI per Capita: $470
Percentage of Population Living on Less than $1.25/day: 36.8%
Literacy Percent: 39%
Orphaned Children: 4,000,000
Physicians per 100, 000 people: 3
CIA—The World Factbook
National Geographic Atlas of the World
WHO Human Resources for Health
UNICEF—State of the World’s Children, 2015
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