My favorite Erta Ale video and some thoughts

I took many videos of Erta Ale, and I would have spent all day watching it if I could have; it’s that mesmerizing for me. Here’s my favorite video, which I just uploaded today:
I’m back in Addis Ababa, and have regular electricity and internet access. It’ll be nice to get back to the U.S., where I can speak English and people understand me… well, at least most of the time. Today, I wanted to get to a specific place, and the taxi driver had no clue where he was going. He might have tried to clarify the destination before heading out. But no. Instead, he took me to one incorrect destination after another, each time asking directions.
It’s just one example of the inefficencies I’ve seen in Ethiopia. While in Harar, I noticed the cleaning lady sweeping the floor, and then mopping it, by stooping down and scrubbing it by hand. I asked why she doesn’t just attach a stick to the rag and use it as a mop; it would be much easier on her back and it would be more efficient. I was told: “That’s just the way it’s done here.”
While in Lalibela, I noticed that the multitude of flies caused misery for everyone, including myself. The soldiers were constantly shooing them away, and pilgrims suffered as well. This was around the church complexes. There were several small pools of stagnant water near the churches, which were full of maggots. I asked why they don’t just spray the water, drain it or find some other way to prevent flies from using these pools as hatcheries. I got no good answer. Apparently, nobody made the connection between the maggots in the water and the swarms of flies that afflicted us all.
At a hotel somewhere in the south, I had requested a knife and spoon to eat the fresh papaya I’d purchased on the street. I understand that there is a language problem; few people, even at hotels, speak English well. But when the employee brought me two knives, I had to ask myself, “what in the world was he thinking? What was I going to do with two knives?”
I’ve met some very intelligent people here in Ethiopia. Some of them have great insights, and I’d like to keep in touch with them. For the most part, staff at the nicer hotels are comparable to what you’d find in the U.S. But now and then I’m reminded of the studies that show Ethiopia’s average I.Q. as 70 or so.

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7 Responses to My favorite Erta Ale video and some thoughts

  1. fedfef1 says:

    I’m rather stricken that you could go to that country, write as favorably as you did in ways about it’s history, traditions, how different it is from the rest of SS africa and the intelligent people you’ve met there, and after seeing variously indifference and clueleness to degraded living conditions and such, you’d say to yourself “well, I’ve heard on the internet (from Richard Lynn, no less) this country’s average IQ is functionally retarded by western standards, so that explains quite well what I’ve seen.” Unless you’re being sarcastic. I can’t readily say why you’ve seen what you did in Ethiopia, but that stuff doesn’t sound too out of place for a lot of other non-african third world countries, India especially, and even sometimes eastern europe.
    The figure typically given for Ethiopia is actually 63, by the way- the second lowest in the world after Equatorial Guinea (which is verifiably a fraudulent score.)

    • jewamongyou says:

      Whenever I travel, I see the good, the bad and the ugly of that country. I write about it all. I have many more positive things to write about Ethiopia, but I’m not going to censure myself and ignore the negative things. I’ve been to many places, and I’ve never sugar-coated any of my experiences.
      Like many of my readers, I’ve seen the studies showing low IQ scores for Ethiopia, and this was one of the questions I was hoping to resolve in my own mind. Unfortunately, I still haven’t formed a clear opinion on this. It’s already been pointed out, by Rushton and others, that an IQ of less than 70 may be borderline retarded for whites, but this is not so for Africans.
      You say the Equatorial Guinea scores are fraudulent. This might be the case, but I’d like to see similar studies that are NOT fraudulent. In Ethiopia’s case, at least, malnutrition and disease may play a role in these low scores. I don’t know, but I think it is possible for a country to function at the levels we see in Africa with such low average IQs. Simply observing Africans going about their everyday lives doesn’t help much; actual studies are needed – studies that the leftist establishment is not willing to condone, fund or publicize.

      • Stan d Mute says:

        It’s simple smart fraction theory. Ethiopia has enough to keep the lights on some of the time. And enough to collect the handouts from the World Bank and others. Then they run out of intellectual capital and cannot even figure out how to create or operate a mop. Just like they failed to figure out the wheel..
        Take away all the white and Asian charity assistance and Ethiopia will very quickly return to the starvation for which they are famous.

  2. Robert Marchenoir says:

    You don’t need to go to Ethiopia to witness the cognitive difficulties of Africans. I see it in innumerable interactions with them in my corner of Europe. It’s obvious to the naked eye. Never mind IQ studies, they only confirm observations everyone can make in the practicalities of daily life.
    Why do I switch from one queue to another, at my bank, if the clerk is black ? Because I know that if I have a question that goes beyond him reading off a screen, or slavishly applying some preset routine, I will be met by a blank stare, obfuscation and finally a dead-end.
    What was the ethnicity of the only sales assistant I ever met who so spectacularly mingled up my name, after I s-l-o-w-l-y spelled it for him, that it was obvious he didn’t know the alphabet, and just typed something at random on his keyboard ? Mind you, that was in a big chain-store, not some hole in the wall.
    Who are the free-lance workers who thought it smart to do only half of the renovating job they were supposed to do on my building, while there was no way the customer would not realise immediately that the other half was missing, who managed to break a few things in the process because they did not apply the standard operating procedures of their trade, and still billed their boss for six days’ work, while they took only two days to botch the job ? Right : they were not white, nor Arab, nor Asian. (Might have been black Jewish, though, I did not check — just joking.)
    What ethnicity, again, was the plumber who flooded my kitchen while repairing a pipe on the above floor, first insisted he had nothing to do with it, then reluctantly agreed to look into it, then could not make out how it happened, then had to be instructed by me (the non-professional) about the probable cause, then checked it, then reluctantly admitted that I was right, then asked to borrow a kitchen knife from me to replace the appropriate tool he did not have, then, upon my refusal, took advantage of my leaving the kitchen for a few minutes in order to steal a… potato-peeler from my drawer in order to do his dirty work, then simply pocketed it away ? Right, he was black. (And just for laughs, his mate was white… but mute. Great team !)
    I once hired a truck to move some stuff. Big rental company at the airport of a major European capital. While checking the vehicle, I asked an employee to show me how to operate the lock on the back, because I could not manage it on first try. He hadn’t the slightest idea how to open the blasted thing. Instead of asking a colleague, he pretended to try for ages, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, while looking at the damn contraption with a stupid stare, the way a hen would look at a bicycle. Yes, he was black, and I was running against a schedule.
    You can’t shout at them, either, because that would be racist. So I had to wait for him to do nothing, and make up his mind that he did not know.

  3. Harar Krishna! says:

    “I asked why they don’t just spray the water,”
    Spray it with what?
    “I understand that there is a language problem; few people, even at hotels, speak English well. ”
    The problem is that you don’t speak their language, not that they don’t speak English.
    “It’s just one example of the inefficencies I’ve seen in Ethiopia. While in Harar, I noticed the cleaning lady sweeping the floor, and then mopping it, by stooping down and scrubbing it by hand. I asked why she doesn’t just attach a stick to the rag and use it as a mop; it would be much easier on her back and it would be more efficient. I was told: “That’s just the way it’s done here.”
    That’s how I clean floors too. On my hands and knees. Its faster, easier, gets the floors cleaner and is better for the back actually.

  4. jewamongyou says:

    Spray it with insecticide; they do have it there.
    When I said there was a language problem, I meant for both of us. Still, English is the lingua franca in Africa, and hotel workers (at least in the better hotels) are expected to be proficient in it.
    The lady in Harar wasn’t on her hands and knees, as you were. She was fully standing up, and stooping down to reach the floor. I don’t think this is better for the back.

    • Harar Krishna! says:

      Maybe she had a problem that she couldn’t get on hands in knees. Throughout much of the world you see people doing a squat to clean, cook and go to bathroom. That position is actually good for health. All this “primitive” stuff I grew up with is no en vogue in the West – neti pots (a yogic/ayurvedic thing), squatting to poop, again ayurvedic. The westerners are now buying apparatuses to make their sit-down toilets into ones on which they can squat and soooooo many things previously mocked by western people are being “discovered” (eh) to be good for their health.
      It was good all along. You guys didn’t know it, but many of us around the world did.

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