Mulugeta Zerihun | Ethiopia
What do you do in your home country and what do you hope to do upon your return? In particular, with the integration of your experiences here?
In my home country there are a variety of things that I do. My main focuses are on deaf education, I am a deaf education expert. In my local NGO I am a Deaf education expert preparing resource materials, giving different training including teaching methodology etc... I will go to local news stations and talk with reporters about the deaf community. I collect data and I am a reporter for the deaf community. For example, working on a particular program, I may disseminate the information for the week. Sometimes I disseminate info about those who are deaf or disabled, other times I go out and interact with people. This way people can become aware of what is happening in the Deaf community. In the realm of media, I work as a reporter for the sign language reporter and prepare disability program. I make reports about what will be happening during the week, what has been planned. Both working on Deaf education and reporting are my permanent jobs.
I also do some volunteering with the regional Deaflympic. I am also the vice president for the Deaflympics, which are like the Olympics that we are all familiar with except with a branch for the deaf community. My other volunteer activity is that I helped to launch a deaf church to give theology service for the deaf community with more than 100 members.
The reason I came to the fellowship is because Americans are so advanced with technology and I wanted to come here to interact with people and learn from them. The networking with not only Americans but also with other fellows. If there is anything I may need while I am back home, having contacts here allows me to reach out with them. I am also able to interact with donors so that I may build my program.
What is your favorite thing about your home country? How about Philadelphia?
Ethiopian culture and the stories of its past. Ethiopia had not been colonized and the culture is very strong in part because of this, something that I love. I love learning more and more about the Ethiopia’s past and culture.
For me, my favorite thing about Philadelphia is that the freedom of the classroom and programming, we have so much fun in the classroom. No one is strict with us. We can go home and relax. The technology here is great and makes things so easy. Even the technology outside of the class is great, for example being able to uber anywhere and get around the city with ease.
Do you have any hobbies or an interesting fact you wish to share about yourself?
I have always loved sports. Any kind of sports - I love watching and playing sports. I like going out and about, being deaf means that I am a very visual person, so I like going out and doing things.
If I were to come to your home country, what is the first thing I should eat?
Dero Wet. In English that means Chicken stew. It is chicken leg with a yellow sauce. You eat it with your hands. In addition, Tej, a traditional Ethiopian beverage made from honey and birz (which does have a little alcohol in it). You can combine them or not, so you can have it with or without alcohol. You can get these foods in the states but if you came to Ethiopia I could tell you where to go that is very good.