With the construction of the Ethiopia’s first skatepark last month, local skaters came together with volunteers to create a spot to call their own.
Last month over 50 volunteers from 20 countries came together with local skaters to build Ethiopia’s first skatepark, in the capitol city Addis Ababa. Prior to the park being built, locals’ only option was street skating. As in most countries, this meant navigating the authorities, being pushed out of spots by security guards, having boards taken by cops and dodging cars on chaotic roads. In Addis, it’s common for skaters to pay off security or offer to buy them a coffee in exchange for a slice of uninterrupted time at a favorite spot. Things are a lot simpler now they have their own ramps.
In less than a month, the park’s construction brought local skater’s dreams to life. The team that led the build, Ethiopia Skate, began as a website and Facebook page five years ago. After a while, the rapidly growing group were meeting all over the city to scout skate spots. From their very first meetings, they talked about getting a park. It’s finally happened.
It began when the group contacted German organization Make Life Skate Life (MLSL). With teams of international volunteers, MLSL have built skate parks in India, Jordan, Bolivia and Myanmar.
With the park finished, the group are hyped. “I didn’t think it would be this big, I dreamt of a smaller version but this is unexpected,” said thirteen-year-old Eyob Desta. Ethiopia Skate Founder, Addisu Haile Michael told i-D there are “so many kids texting me, calling me, saying it’s the best day of their life…everyone is crazy and hyped up. We’ve been waiting for this for years now.”
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