Monday, February 25, 2013

Discovering Ethiopia "from inside"

Since 2010 I have been working on a voluntary base for a non-profit organization called INSIDE TRAVEL which offers interactive and social trips to Ethiopia. Under the motto "Discover, Learn, Participate", the 11-day program offers you the opportunity to meet local people of different backgrounds, discuss with them, learn about the culture and participate in various activities to be part of the everyday life in Ethiopia. 

From February 3 -13 (2013), I had the great honor to coordinate together with my two Ethiopian colleagues, Abye and Wondi, one of the interactive trips which took place in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and in the Gurage region. The group of travelers was composed of 11 participants coming mainly from Switzerland and formed by a varied mix of ages including a family with two kids. The majority of the participants were young, aged between 23 and 31 years old. The youngest child was 9 and the eldest lady was 59... a great mix!

The program included a series of alternative activities which offered travellers the possibility to get deeper knowledge of the country and interact closely with the people. The trip started by exploring Addis Ababa through a challenging game encouraging teamwork and interaction with locals. The confidence building tasks were designed to introduce European to Ethiopia, and help them overcome the initial culture shock. After a full immersion in the frenetic capital city, a 5-hour journey South-West brought the group in the deep Ethiopian country side where they intensively took part in the every-day life of a local community. Being in Gurage was like going back in time: the living is uniquely based on the cultivation of the so called False Banana Tree, the houses are hand-made in a traditional manner, the cooking is made over an open fire, money has little value and there is no sign of Western civilization. Travellers really enjoyed this part of the program. They were confronted with a hard agrarian life-style embedded in a genuine environment and felt part of something very special. 

Once back in the capital, the group participated in a workshop organized by a local NGO where it was thought, by homeless girls, how to create handcrafts from leather and bamboo. After having closely experienced the agrarian life-style, travelers had the chance in groups to be part in the daily routine of a locale “city” family and be involved in rituals and traditions; going to church, doing grocery at the market, cooking food at home, have a beer at the local bar with friends or go for a promenade in down-town.

The program is very rich, yet also offers sufficient free time for travelers to do their own things. All the activities, being very unusual and unique in comparison to those of classical touristic tours, are always highly appreciated by our participants and most importantly they feel fulfilled with their need of acclimatizing in a new country. In this trip, thank to the age gap of the participants, the program proofed to be suitable to anyone and it is with great joy that I want to invite anyone to participate in one of our interactive trips to Ethiopia. 

Our programs run regularly all through the year with a maximum of 12-15 participants. We do also offer individual customized programs and all type of budget options. 

For more information regarding the program, costs, organization and who we are, go to or write us at

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