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African American Versus EthiopianEssay

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Cultural Assessment

The author of this report has been asked to prepare a cultural assessment report that focuses on three main dimensions. The first main dimension will be an assessment of Ethiopian culture using the Purnell Model for Cultural Competence. There are a dozen dimensions within this model and they include geography/topography, communication, family roles and organization, workforce issues, bicultural ecology, high-risk behaviors, nutrition, pregnancy and childbearing practices, death rituals, spirituality, healthcare practices and healthcare practitioners. The second dimension will be a summary and review of the personal culture of the author of this report including ethnicity, religion and other important details. Finally, there will be a comparison between the Ethiopian culture of the author of this report and that of the African-American culture in the United States. While the ancestral homeland of both groups is of the same continent, a lot has happened over the half millennia and this has led to a huge divergence between the two groups.

Purnell Model

The steps in the cultural model comparison as described by Purnell was mentioned in brief in the introduction. When it comes to topology and geography, there are some major traits that should be summarized and assessed. Ethiopia is about 1.2 million kilometers in size and it is the seventh-largest country in Africa. It is on the eastern portion of the continent in an area known as the Horn of Africa. Much, but not all, of the country is a high plateau. The elevation of the country ranges from 100 meters below sea level in the Dallol Depression of Afar to the mountains of the Semien mountains, which reach about 4,000 meters above sea level. The highest mountains in the country are Ras Dashen in the Semien area and Batu in the Bale mountains. There is an area known as the Rift Valley that separates the eastern and western highlands. There are a good amount of river basins including the Blue Nile, Awash, Baro, Omo, Tekkeze, Wage, Shebelle and the Genale. The climate of Ethiopia varies based on location. The Dega area is cool to cold, the Weina Dega is warm to cool, the Kolla area is warm to hot and the Bereha area is hot and arid. The country is as large as France and Spain combined and is about five times the size of the modern United Kingdom. The country is in a strategic location in Africa given that it is fairly close to both the Middle East and Europe (Ethiopia, 2016).

The communication in Ethiopia is quite varied and complex. Indeed, there were about 83 million people in the country as of 2008. At that time, the Oromo were the largest group but not by much. As of 1994, Oromo made up about 32.1%, Amaras were about 30.1%, Tigraways were about 6.2%, Somalie were 5.9%, Guragie were 4.3%, Sidamas were about 3.5%, Welaita were 2.4% and other groups made up the remaining 15.4%. When it comes to religion, the 1994 census showed that Christians were the sound majority of the country, coming in at 60.8%. Of those Christians, the vast majority (roughly half the country overall) were Orthodox while about 10.2% of the country was some form of Protestant Christian. By contrast with the United States, Muslims were nearly a third of Ethiopia, coming in at 32.8%. Traditional religions came in at 4.6% and "other" religions came in at 1.8%. What the above leads to are a lot of different dialects and languages in the country. As of 1994, there were no less than 77 langauges and dialects and that was per the Census. The Ethnologue puts the actual number in the mid-80's. Regardless of dialect, there are many traits that are common or even expected when it comes to Ethiopians. They greetings of the people are very courteous and somewhat formal. Handshakes occur but they are much "lighter" than in Western cultures. Elders are expected to be greeted first when there is a group and how someone is addressed depends on whether someone is a man, an unmarried woman or a woman. People are usually impeccably dressed and it is commonplace to entertain guests within one's home. An invitation to someone's private home is to be considered an honor. It is common to offer a cup of coffee and it is considered rude to refuse it. Business communication is similar but notably different. Greetings are always formal and handshakes are expected to be prolonged but not too firm. Men and women are not to be touching each other and greetings should not be rushed. Small talk about families and other such things is normal. All government officials are expected to be referred to as "excellency" and eye contact is considered a requirement (Kwintessential, 2016).

When it comes to family roles and such in Ethiopia, there are some common themes and practices. One thing is that extended family living situations are the norm as generations of families typically live together. In some cases, there will be unmarried aunts, uncles and cousins or even close family friends that live with a nuclear family. One's extended family in Ethiopia is seen as a way to gain recognition and honor. Honor is achieved through acceptable deeds and behaviors of the members of the family. One possession of families in Ethiopia are animal stock and this asset is very much necessary to many families. Examples include cattle, horses and donkeys (Africa-Expert, 2016).

When it comes to the workforce and business in Ethiopia, there are some good things and some bad. While the economy of Ethiopia is small by comparison to other countries (especially outside of Africa), the economy of Ethiopia is growing at a rate of seven to eight percent per year. Crime is very low and it is one of the biggest domestic markets in Africa with about 90 million consumers. There is easy access, as mentioned before, to Europe and the Middle East given the geographical location of the country. There is a very cheap yet very trainable workforce in the country. They are not highly skilled a lot of the time but they are eager to work and learn. There are many Western businesses that operate in Ethiopia with a lot of them being from the United Kingdom. Just a few examples include Tesco, Unilvever, Diageo and pharmaceutical company Glaxo Smith Kline (United Kingdom, 2016).

When it comes to biocultural ecology, Ethiopia is a wealth of material and information. Just two regions that are worth pointing out are the Sheka region, which is an upland area, and the Bench Maji area, which is a mid-hill region. The Sheka region has an elevation of about 1800-2600 meters above sea level. Its natural vegetation is mix deciduous forest and areas of bamboo. Forest cover in the area is about half to sixty percent. There is a small-scale subsistence culture in the area. Households that exist in the area are usually very small with even the rich only having household sizes of three or less. With people of medium or lower wealth, it is usually a pair of people or just one man or woman. By contrast, the Bench Maji region is 900-1800 meters above sea level. Like the Sheka region, there is a lot of mix deciduous forests in the area. However, there is also a lot of coffee plants that manifest in the area as under-storey species. The forest cover in the Bench Maji area is a lot less than the Sheka region, coming in at about fifteen percent. Coffee is used and harvested in the form of coffee extraction from natural and semi-natural forests, garden coffee cultivation and coffee plantations. There is a presence of small-scale agriculture and some locally marketable products. Household sizes in this area are much larger with the rich usually having about nine people, the moderately wealthy having about four people but the poor are about the same as the Sheka region ... one person on their own (Bongers & Tennigkeit, 2010).

When it comes to high-risk behavior in Ethiopia, one major example can be seen in the youth of the country. While HIV and AIDS has been the biggest problem in many ways, at least a lot of the time, in Ethiopia and the rest of Africa, there are other maladies and problems that are starting to emerge. One of those problems is the use and abuse of alcohol. The sharp spike in the abusive consumption of alcohol has led to many problems including negative effects on public health, accidents, fatalities and other deviant behavior and bad outcomes. Young Ethiopia men and boys were compared and contrasted in a 2014 study to the same age groups in the former Soviet Union and Israel. It was found that Ethiopian youth reported higher rates of family unemployment, public welfare dependence, the amount of alcohol consumption in the last thirty days (including hard liquor), serious fighting, declines in achievement in school and so forth. This led that study's authors to conclude that there is the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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