The yodeling churches of Ethiopia. Something no tourist guide warns about ...

October 7th, 2013, 8am

No one has warned me about that. My extensive online and print research before I had decided to move to Ethiopia indicated nothing about this.

The noise pollution by the Christian Orthodox churches in Ethiopia in incredible!

There are churches as plenty as Starbucks in Manhattan. While the actual building might be small, the megaphone quality loudspeaker on top is staggering. And unlike mosques, which call for prayer 5 times a day for 5 minutes, these churches blast hourlong sermons through their systems, for everyone to hear. They usually start as early as 3:30AM and then go on for 3 - 4 hours. The sermon sounds incredibly aggressive, like Hitler calling for war. Interestingly, the sermon is delivered in Ge’ez, an old version of Amharic, of which the local people maybe understand 20%. If you have several churches close by, it appears they are challenging each other, who can be louder. On one occasion I measured 92 decibel. I understand that other businesses are being shut down by the government if their noise level encompasses 75 db.

Do they do that every day? No, only on holidays. And the Ge’ez calendar has only 280 of those in a Gregorian calendar year.

They do not only keep it to the morning (recently, during a total power outage, they started at 0:30 AM, must have a generator), but also evenings, or afternoons, or basically whenever they feel like it. We actually moved houses within Addis based on the first house being way to close to one church. We have been told it is a common practice of landlords to bribe the nearest church to keep it down for a few days when they show their houses to prospective tenants.

I have tried 3 times to talk directly to someone at our neighbor church, the third time I was walked out by a mob of angry church goers.

Not surprised that no tourist guide is mentioning this. Every little village has at least one such set up and ear plugs become mandatory.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for spirituality and am happy for people who find blessing in following their church. But THIS is closer to active brain washing and levied to EVERYONE with ears!

I like to sleep sometimes …

Anna, Paul, Cassie, Kristen and 3 others said thanks.

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Peter Nacken

Trailing spouse all over the world. Love writing, photography, good food (including cooking it myself), traveling, the interwebs ...

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