A friend of mine, a photographer named Aida Muluneh, is a very talented artist, and, on a trip to Addis, we gave her a lamp, which she then gave to her family. Some time later, I got a letter from her in which she related this story about how Little Sun played an important role in her family’s life:

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  • Little Sun in Ethiopia

    Little Sun in Ethiopia 

    Photo: Helen Zeru

  • Little Sun in Ethiopia

    Little Sun in Ethiopia

    Photo: Maddelena Valeri

  • Little Sun in Ethiopia

    Little Sun in Ethiopia

    © Olafur Eliasson 

My family comes from a small village, called Seghora Aba Abo, which is in Welo. It’s two hours drive from Lalibela to the city of Geregera Giorghis, then you get off and have to walk for about three hours. We are from a very rural region with nothing but the mountains and land. It is very difficult to get there, and in fact I think we crossed around five mountains…

Almost a week and a half after my son was born, my step grandfather passed away at the age of 105… His name was Moges Meretu; he was a legend in the area, so upon his death, many people came to the funeral from all the nearby regions. As you can image, he … had seen a large part of Ethiopia’s history … I couldn’t go to the funeral, but my cousin Worku, who lives in the city, went, and he asked … to borrow a flashlight for his trip. I told him to take the Little Sun (in the last visit, Eric [Ellingsen] had brought it for me). Worku was impressed by the light and the fact that he didn’t have to carry batteries to make it work (which are expensive and hard to find in our region). He told me how they hang it outside like a wet cloth and it works all night (Amharic, lost in translation). He also told me how he used the light to get to the house at night, and, as you may know, in our tradition when someone passes on, we set up a huge tent and people come to eat. Well, they had a tent made with wood and grass, and the Little Sun was set in one corner. Over 100 people ate, drank, and shared stories those few days. They used it from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. Then, after that, the women took the light and used it until dusk while they cooked food and made Tej for the continuation celebration in the following days. So … please get us the light to our region!!!!! My family can coordinate the sale of it. …On another note, I still have the light; Worku brought it back, and I use it every night as my side lamp, since I have to wake up every two hours to breastfeed Kahen.

Little Sun in Ethiopia

Little Sun in Ethiopia

© Olafur Eliasson