Ethiopia has become the hub for travel within the North Eastern part of Africa. As we enter week two of this remarkable journey in Addis Ababa, where the city is constantly alive with sounds, whether it’s beautiful music from the weddings or late-night traffic; the place is finally starting to feel familiar.
We were slowly immersed into the culture where we had a taste of the bread called injera, which is made of out of a locally cultivated grain, tef, along with a variety of spicy meats. These wonderful new flavours were a delight to our palate. Our experiences at Yod Abyssinia and Totot, two of the ethnic restaurants located in the centre of the city, Bole, were ones to remember. The experience started out with being seated around a table where the injera was served with collard greens and cottage cheese, along with meat dishes such as kitfo and tibs, in a vessel called the mesob. It was communal dining where we ate with our hands in one plate. It was an interesting experience and the flavours and aromas of the meal were truly exquisite.
Besides having excellent food and great conversation, we were entertained throughout the meal with dancers and singers. We saw performances and dances that represented various regions in Ethiopia including the Oromo and Eskista dances. The evening ended with a traditional Ethiopian wedding on the stage. The bride was covered from head to toe and the groom was the first one who could see her. During weddings, it’s customary to serve raw meat as it’s a form of delicacy. Though this wedding was staged, we partook in some of the festivities in a real one during our stay at the Wabe Shebele hotel.
City: Bangalore a.k.a The Silicon Valley of India
Population: 10 million
At 1:15am on April 11th, we finally arrived in the Bangalore Airport. A warm, evening breeze hit us after our 25 hour journey from snow-covered Canada. We were welcomed with fresh flowers by our driver, who navigated the rollercoaster roads of Bangalore to get us safely to our hotel. These roads are truly an experience.
Three-wheeled auto rickshaw’s (exhibit 1), motorcycles, pedestrians, public transit buses (exhibit 2), cows (exhibit 3) and cars all share the same road. Zigged-zagged and crammed together into compact, Tetris-like rows, these drivers use up all available space on the road. On average, seven (+/- three) different vehicles shared a lane.
We have since decoded the secret language of honks:
1) Short, quick beep: I am behind you
2) Double beep: I am behind you and will be passing
3) Long beep: Please drive faster
4) Really long beep: If you do not drive faster, then move out of the way
5) Really really long beep: I am ready to run you over
The key to crossing the road is commitment – don’t turn back.
KTA: Canada currently has a subpar usage of their roads
Recommendation: Lanes should be removed from all Canadian roads to better utilize the space and reduce the amount of time spent on the 401
"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." - Anonymous
In the pursuit of trying to address local pressing needs and improve the lives of those around them, the students have created ventures that help connect patients directly to the medical care they need, unlock the access to capital for those that require it the most, and provide reliable alternative light sources for families during energy cuts. The students are bright, full of big dreams and aspirations. They are never short of new ideas and are all very eager to start. But what is inspiring is that most of the ideas were developed not with the intention of changing the world, but rather they are created to simply help solve some of the pressing needs of the local community. In doing so a many of these entrepreneurs have the potential to transform the way of life in Bangalore and contribute to new economic growth in their community.
Not of all our students have joined the program in hopes of starting a new business but rather many of them come from family businesses they are looking to develop. However, working for an already established company does not mean that there isn’t room for entrepreneurship. The pressure of having to take over, manage and grow all the while working within the constraints of an already successful family business has pushed the students to think even more innovatively. Intrapreneurship is equally as challenging as entrepreneurship and the similarity between the two is that they both require a clearly defined problem that needs to be resolved, relentless motivation to continuously improve, and tremendous courage.
KTA: A business idea does not need to be revolutionary. There is also no need to wait for a big idea but rather start searching locally for opportunities to solve problems.
Recommendation: Stop. Open your eyes and observe the interactions of your customer. Open your ears and listen to problems of your customers. Open your mouth and speak with your customers. Understand their needs and then build solutions.
Zdravo! (hello in Macedonian)
The trip has been a whirlwind of generous hospitality, delicious food, breathtaking scenery, and enriching class discussions.
As soon as we arrived, we were welcomed in our apartments with a care package of food and drinks from the local supporters of the LEADER program in Macedonia. We have become addicted to ajvar, a traditional spread made of roasted eggplant, roasted peppers and hot peppers, and are currently strategizing a means to import this to Canada.
We have a large class of 40 participants, with a strong and diverse set of experience - including international experience spanning North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe and diverse industry expertise across sectors that include IT, financial services, healthcare, fashion, food and beverage, just to name a few! As you can imagine, this leads to some lively (and often heated) debates... staying true to Ivey style.
Work hard and play hard is a motto that has been adopted here as well - this has given us a chance to experience a taste of Macedonia's culture. This has ranged from making 'skara' which is a traditional Macedonian BBQ, drinking the local 'rakija' which is enjoyed alongside a 'shopska' salad, dancing to traditional folk music accompanied by karaoke and enjoying the beautiful scenery of Mount Vodno, Matka Canyon and Lake Ohrid.