The students watched video footage of Addis Ababa streets documented for the team by mentor Yared Gurmu, a 2000 graduate of our sister school, Saint Joseph School, and current student of Harvard School of Public Health to work on his Doctor’s degree. Gurmu recorded the footage with the team’s specifications in mind, focusing on crosswalks near Saint Joseph School and areas with heavy traffic. After viewing and analyzing the footage, students wrote thank you letters:
My name is Felege and I am an Ethiopian member of this InvenTeam. I just wanted to thank you so much for all your effort. I know that you were going to Ethiopia for vacation but you took an enormous amount of time roaming the streets of Ethiopia for the sake of this project. I also really appreciate your commentaries as they provided us with helpful context that helped us get a better sense of the culture around road traffic in Ethiopia. I remember that the road conditions were really bad when I was in Ethiopia but I forgot just how serious the condition was! Once again, I can’t thank you enough for what you have done to help us with this project. I really hope that we get to meet you sometime!
Dear Mr. Gurmu
Thank you so very much, my good man, for taking time out of your own vacation to film the streets of Ethiopia for us – this has been such an unbelievable amount of help to our class and project! Because of you, we’re able to see almost first-hand at what Ethiopians go through in trying to do something as simple as crossing a street and how dangerous the roads are, which needs to be fixed. Thanks to you, we have a much better sense of where to go with our invention project and hopefully we’ll be able to eliminate the danger of street crossing in Ethiopia within a few years at most. J
Dear Yared Gurmu,
I would like to thank you for taking the time to document everything that we asked for. I was shocked to see that people hop above fences and concrete barriers just to get to the other side. I can’t believe that the footbridges are about 15-20 minutes away from one another–no wonder why pedestrians don’t bother to use the footbridges. The youtube videos we saw in class were helpful, but I have a better sense of what Ethiopia is like now. Drivers are not afraid to keep going and they definitely don’t give right of way to pedestrians and pedestrians are not afraid to keep walking. This is a problem that we are hoping to solve. I’m looking forward to working with you and thank you so much for all your help!
Thank you so much for taking the time to videotape so much footage for us! It really helped us see the road conditions in Ethiopia. Before, we could only rely on numbers and statistics to understand the traffic situation. Your footage helped us gain a real-life perspective in Ethiopia and will really aid us in creating our invention. For example, even though we knew that drivers often refused to give the right of way to pedestrians, we didn’t know drivers would keep moving even when pedestrians are right in front of them. As a result, pedestrians often dart into the traffic and risk their lives to cross a busy road. Furthermore, your commentary really helped clarify the footage and let us focus on specific problems. Once again, thank you so much!
Dear Yared Gurmu,
Thank you so much for taking the time to help us with our traffic safety invention. Your footage of the traffic in Ethiopia was very eye-opening and your commentary helped us to better understand the difficulties both pedestrians and drivers experience on a daily basis. I found it very shocking how difficult it is for pedestrians to safely cross the street, weaving through cars. Their options are limited, forcing them to either jump over multiple traffic barriers or walk 20 minutes to get to the nearest footbridge. I was also surprised by how many pedestrians are willing to cross wide multiple-lane roads lacking medians; they perform a stop and go motion, pausing and waiting in the middle of the street for a space between cars to pass through. Your footage was very informative, and I want to thank you again for your time.