Arbaminch

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Found in around 1960 (You may come up with the right date here) Arbaminch is one of the youngest big cities in Ethiopia. Arbaminch was built from scratch. The first thing done was clearing of the forest, bulldozing of the earth and making a way for a make shift government offices. This was done by peasants from all over the region. Every Awraja Gegj (Administrators) had to recruit and send a certain number of labourers towards the building of Arbaminch.

The government offices were built by as little as four items. Tin from Akaki for the roof, Eucalyptus poles from Chencha (the dethroned city which preceded Arbaminch as the capital city of Gamugofa) for all the frames, a woven bamboo (from Chencha), locally called kartta, rolled around the pillars as a wall of the ‘building’ and of course nails to attach these and the roof to the frame. Civil servants and other service providers in the area also used these materials to build their residences or service centres.

Along with these, there were many ground breaking activities carried out in the early days. This was not an easy task. The people who built Arbaminch built it standing against the scorching and punishing heat that reached the high of thirties along with repellent humidity at times. Not only the heat, winter or a season I do not remember, brought awlonefas, a tornado like wind that dismantled and leveled the city within minutes and left almost all houses roofless. The next day was a building day again. The fight against malaria was the main challenge of the pioneers in their process of building the city.

Thus, the pioneers and their children were the first of so many things that Arbaminch has today: Fitawrari Aemiroselassie Abebe was the first Governor of Gamo Gofa to make his provincial seat in Arbaminch. Tefaye Asfaw was the first to introduce and owe electric generator in the city. The first teachers of Arbaminch proper were teachers who taught in “Tawla Timihirtbet” (a school building built of lumber) in shecha. The first hotel, the flour mill operator, the first pharmacy, the first surveyor, and the first judge Characters such as Agago, Shonene, kumakulo Abalasha, known government officials Colonel Kalbesa Beka, Known teachers Mamo Yadete the locomotive, Memirae Wolde Gosa Italian families: Leda and Dicorsa known business men Wubetawe Belihu and Ato Gochera, from neighbourhood’s kolkole. It goes on and on and on.

Some of these pioneers may still be living somewhere in Arbaminch. Their children are of course living scattered around the country and in different part of the world. So they are the living treasures of Arbaminch history! Tadesse Wolde and Girma Tesfaye are among the known children of the pioneers.

This page is dedicated to developing a recorded history of Arbaminch and its vicinity. In so doing it attempts to bring old friends together and help them share their memories. This in turn will avail a pool of resource for the younger generation who has an interest in digging about Arbaminch.

Were you in Arbaminch at any one time? Share us your experience. Were you student, teacher of Haile Degaga or the Highschool? Did you live in Shecha or Sikela? Did you swim in Kulfo River? Did you go to cherry picking in the thorny bushes (Kontir) to look for the likes of yebereha lomi, bedena, koshim, enkoy and encountered wild dogs (tekula), chitah or even lions? What was your experience about Arbaminch Chaka? Had you been to nech sar?

Thank you

Arbaminch