Public servants wake up starting off the day better than how they end it. Mornings in most offices run better than the afternoons.

According to my Facebook, we are all feminists who are keen to see equality while spreading love or sarcastic memes at one another. Facebook and Instagram, along with most other social media platforms, filter out what we see through algorithms, making the world feel smaller. Social media affirms and reaffirms what we feel, cementing our thoughts into immovable walls: walls we are now building, instead of the bridges we should be extending to meet one another.

The middle ground is nowadays the least appreciated space. In-between every encounter that we have, there is a gap in where we meet. Most lessons have been taught in the idea that if we can convince someone to come over to our side of the gap, we have somehow won. If someone is wondering, "Winning at what?" then we are on the same page. As we formulate how one really wins at life when life is not a competition, the journey of finding that middle ground continues.

I had a conversation recently with someone who in many ways would not have crossed my path. We sat and discussed what we hoped our nation could look like, and the opposite poles we had found ourselves on the spectrum of what we both envisioned as right. We both shed tears for what has been lost. The fundamentals of what we wanted were to build on love, for everyone to feel heard, and somewhere in between we began to understand one another.

Public servants wake up starting off the day better than how they end it. Mornings in most offices run better than the afternoons.

This encounter with a stranger made me realise how much we had both missed when giving power to those who were not willing to understand one another. We were being taught that we were enemies when the truth was far from it. We are united in our thirst for a better Ethiopia. At the forefront of that better Ethiopia are our public servants.

Public servants wake up starting off the day better than how they end it. Mornings in most offices run better than the afternoons. Even though there might be various reasons, I make the assumption that the hours spent with hundreds of customers could not have been easy.

As the Ministry of Trade & Industry has recently announced, they will be unveiling an Online Trade Registration & Licensing Service that will be assisting citizens who are interested in the creation of a business. Anyone who has walked into the business registration offices would know it is hard to do so for lack of the information available.

There is a frustration everyone who walks into these types of institutions faces. The places are often disorganised, with masses of people, papers plastered everywhere with non-useful information on them and somewhere an annoying welcome sign blinks. It is like a twilight zone of bureaucracy, yet this is the reality. But even this is also half of the reality. We blame and point fingers standing at the other side of the window. And while all this can be frustrating, the people providing the service are also just that, people. They serve thousands of people who are not always nice, providing the information they are not well-trained on.

While those running the desks are often the faces that take on the wrath of public frustration, they also do not always deserve it. While many of us end up in these institutions with dreams that we are trying to make into realities, for many of them behind the desk, it has been a long journey of watching people come and go, always unloading anger on them. I wonder while we have it in us to complain of everything that goes wrong, do we take the time to thank those that go out of their way to make sure our files are done well and give us reliable advice?

The road to development is tedious, and it is rewarding. That being mentioned, skipping from one method of work to another without fully utilizing one, does not guarantee confidence.

While some jobs are becoming obsolete, humans’ adaptability should also follow. We should all be learning the logic of the practical consequences of work and bureaucracy. I fathom the uselessness of our schooling that apparently did not prepare any of us to do our taxes, open a business or learn which public office is responsible for what.

For all of us, understanding the logic at which our country functions is the simple and most important part of building forward. Today, to do so we would have to dismantle all that we have learned to expect and begin with a new coat of understanding. In recognition of all we have contributed to the decaying of our community, we can continue to ask ourselves what our individual actions are contributing to the positive journey ahead. Each of our actions will matter.

PUBLISHED ON Dec 21,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1025]

Hanna Haile is the founder of Zellan Creative & Cultural Center. She can be reached at (

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