The rainy season is finally coming to an end in Ethiopia and Enkutatash is right around the corner. Monsoon rains from prior months will bring new life to the Ethiopian highlands as the fertile landscape literally turns to a lucious gold color as daisies start to blossom in the masses. These special Ethiopian daisies, referred to as Adey Abeba (also known as Bidens macroptera), are a sign of peace, hope and love because of their yellow symbolism. The flowers are presented as gifts, used to decorate households and serve a huge role in the celebration of Ethiopian New Year. By November, all of these flowers will be gone and won’t return until the following year in September.
Ethiopian New Year occurs on Meskerem 1 on the Ethiopian calendar which is September 11th (or September 12th during leap year) on the Gregorian (... Read More
When taking a look at the great leaders who fought for social injustice and democracy in the 20th century, Nelson Mandela is definitely at the top of the list. He made a tremendous impact on the whole world and was not limited to just South Africa where he served as the 1st president.
Mandela had a remarkable life journey from young long-distance runner and boxer to “the founding father of democracy” which people labelled him as in the 1990s. During his many years of incarceration, he filled the news headlines across the world and was revered as the most famous prisoner in the 1980s. The recognition he earned for his life achievements is truly legendary; he received over 250 awards, prizes and accolades for standing for what he believed in for almost 70 years. Some of top recognition awards include the Nobel Peace Prize, US Presidential Medal of Freedom, Soviet... Read More
Mother’s and Father’s Day are absolutely huge calling holidays all around the world. It doesn’t matter what country you're from, kids know their parents are expecting a visit or a call each year. Even though a phone conversation isn't on the list of items that a Mom wants, which we featured in a previous blog post about Mother's Day, it's one on those unspoken things. You call your Mom or Dad on their special day to show them your love, especially when long distance is a factor. They certainly appreciate a phone call that puts a smile on their face!
It’s finally game day! Football fans have waited long enough for the tournament to kick off in Russia. Let’s take a look at the qualification process that started back in 2015. Out of the 54 FIFA football teams that entered qualification, none of the teams that played in the first round would qualify for the World Cup. The top 27 teams based on FIFA rankings would get a bye in the first round and would only play 2 games until making to the third round where teams were placed into 5 groups. The winners of each group would qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Highlights During Qualification
In Group A, DR Congo played very strong in the third round where they won 4 games, scored 9 goals and earned 13 points in their group but were unable to qualify. Tunisia barely led the way in the group with 14 points and didn’t lose a single match. What’s more interesting is DR Congo... Read More
In the 1990s and 2000s, Cameroon and Senegal were able to reach the quarter finals, the furthest advancement of any African team in the World Cup. Africa really got the recognition it deserved with great performances that influenced FIFA to allocate more spots over time. If teams were unsuccessful and never made it past the first round, it’s hard to say what the presence of African football teams would be in the World Cup. Would other regions/continents around the world be given extra spots over Africa? Oh well at least we don't have to worry about that!
Black Stars Make Africa Proud
Football had already spread all across the continent of Africa and nearly every single nation was trying to qualify for the World Cup. Out of 51 countries, 5 countries would advance on to the 2006 World Cup, which was being held in Germany. The qualification... Read More
What would life be like in Africa without the sport of football (soccer)? It’s hard to imagine when you look at how big the sport has become. People are so dedicated to the sport like it has become a necessity of life. Fans closely follow the progress of their nation’s team in the CAF (Confederation of African Football) and only hope their team qualifies for the World Cup and makes history by becoming champions.
In the previous post, we took a look at the achievements of African teams in the FIFA World Cup up to 1986, where Morocco and Algeria represented the continent. The 1980s marked the era of expansion where Africa was given two spots in the World Cup as opposed to just one. The sport would only continue to grow at a... Read More
Football, which is also know as soccer to regions of the world, is a huge deal in almost every African nation. People follow and support their nation’s team with tremendous pride, hoping that one day they will be World Cup Champions. This is certainly no easy feat by any means given the amount amazing talent across the world. For a nation’s team to make it to the FIFA World Cup and win it all, there’s no more prestigious award aside from Olympic medals.
The Early Years
The very first 1930 FIFA World Cup did not feature any African teams since none of them even entered. However, Egypt made history as the first African nation that ever applied for qualification for the 1934 FIFA World Cup. Back then... Read More
“Some people think football is a matter of life and death.
I assure you, it's much more serious than that.”
- Bill Shankly, one of the most successful Liverpool Football Club managers
Africa has long been renowned for its various different traditions, cultures, vibrancy and languages. One of the continent’s most popular events is the Africa Cup of Nations biennial football tournament, with year’s event held in Gabon, a coastal country in central Africa. The football competition was another huge success, drawing the best African footballers from leagues all over the world. Africans love their football. From street football played by youngsters, to wearing the colors of their nation out on the field in tournaments such as... Read More
For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.
It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul." - Judy Gardland
Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year all over the world by those in love; candlelit dinners, moonlit walks, and the offering of red roses and romantic cards are just some of the gestures performed every February 14th by those who have fallen hopelessly but wonderfully in love with that special someone. But what if you cannot be together with that special someone? What if, like many, your hearts are inseparable but you are separated by miles and miles of land and oceans? Of course, you can still send roses and cards and other romantic tokens and gifts, but you still need to reach across that distance... Read More
Social media is undoubtedly the greatest trend of the 21st Century, wherever you may live in the world. However, there is a new trend emerging in Africa - banning the use of free OTT (Over-The-Top) services such as such as Facebook, Viber, Twitter, Instagram, Skype and Whatsapp. In other words, the most popular social media and internet telephony (VoIP) apps available.
Let’s begin with one example.
Ethiopia Cites “Distracted Students”
Ethiopia, the most recent country to enforce bans, used the excuse of student exams to block free services for the entire country, citing students becoming distracted at such an important time. In reality, there is evidence to suggest the Ethiopian government acted because some of the questions in the end-of-year exams were actually being posted online. It’s not only using education as a reason - violent anti-... Read More
Mother's Day of course!
Many countries around the world will celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend. In today’s mobile society, many families do not live close enough to visit on this special day. The number of expats is increasing every year, and for many of those living abroad, traveling home to see Mom is just not possible. So what’s the next best thing to being there in person? Making a long-distance phone call so she can hear your voice and know you are thinking of her on her day!
Knowing that Mother's Day is right around the corner, people wonder what they should give their Mom on her special day. A thoughtful card or flowers is nice, but if you ask most Moms, the gift they want to receive is simply spending time with their children. In fact, 35% of Moms would just like to have dinner with their family this year.
... Read More
Ghana’s Founder’s Day is a national public holiday observed on September 21st each year to mark the birthday of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, and Ghana’s Founding Fathers. Although Nkrumah was a prominent Pan-Africanist and led Ghana to its independence from Britain, there are still debates as to whether he was the primary leader in Ghana’s quest for independence.
Founder’s Day in Ghana
In the late 1940s, Nkrumah joined the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a political party who aimed for Ghanaian independence from Britain by initiating a pro-independence nationalist movement. In 1949, Nkrumah broke away from the UGCC, which led him to eventually become Ghana’s first president in 1960. Since Ghana earned its independence under Nkrumah’s presidency, he has been referred to as the Founder of Ghana; however, many consider the original five UGCC members who were already fighting for Ghana’s independence to be Ghana’s... Read More
Where paved roads and electricity fail to make connections, mobile phones are shortening the communication gap in Africa. Landlines are basically non-existent in African countries, but as of December 2014, 89 percent of adults in Africa own a cell phone, which is up 46 percent since 2002. The surge of mobile phone use in Africa is changing lives in more ways than just the ease of making phone calls.
Mobile Phones Promoting Communication
While Africa continues to catch up to the U.S. for mobile phone networks, they have essentially skipped landline development and moved right on to cellphones. Despite the lack of landlines, Africa is no longer limited in phone communications with the expansion of mobile networks. Mobile networks, combined with affordable calling services like VIP Communications, allow Africans to not only connect... Read More
It may come as a surprise to some that Ethiopia was named as the “World’s top tourism destination” for 2015, but to many Ethiopian expats living in the Unites States it is a sign of elation. It’s safe to say that Ethiopians living in America aren’t conveniently close to their native land. So, how’s one way they feel connected? They EAT!
It may not be your family’s home cooking; however, there are plenty of incredible eateries throughout the country that bring authenticity, tradition and flavor of Ethiopian cuisine to thousands of Ethiopian expats living in the United States. Of the dozens of restaurants we looked at, here are 10 “must-try” recommendations whenever you are in the region looking for a true Ethiopian dish:
Whether you’re visiting one or a few African countries, or you’ve lived in Africa for years, the culture is so diverse and incredible throughout the entire continent that you’re sure to learn and experience something new no matter what.
Africa is made up of 54 different countries, and each country has countless different languages, tribes, and cultures within themselves. While the entire continent shares some basic similarities in terms of culture, no other place on earth has so much versatility and diversity than Africa. Let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects of a few of the different countries of Africa and what makes them stand out from their neighbors. The countries we’ll focus on include... Read More
Nelson Mandela...we’ve heard the name, and seen the face- a true activist and leader who died less than 2 years ago (December 5, 2013). He was a humanitarian, civil rights icon, peacemaker, and rebel. He not only helped South Africa but he helped the world.
“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”
Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 into a royal family of the Xhosa-speaking Thembu tribe in the South African village of Mvezo. He began his studies at the University College of Fort Hare in South Africa. However, he did not complete his degree for he was expelled for joining in a student protest, talk about foreshadowing! In 1941 Nelson ran away to Johannesburg with his cousin Justice... Read More
Ghana is a West African country situated along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean. According to the Government of Ghana, the official language of Ghana is English and is spoken by more than half of Ghanaians. Climate-wise, there are two main seasons in Ghana, the wet season and the dry season, both bring with them warm, tropical temperatures that make Ghana a popular tourist destination.
Tourists visit Ghana to see the diverse wildlife; Kintampo Waterfalls and the largest waterfall in west Africa, Wli Waterfalls; beautiful sandy beaches; caves; mountains, rivers; and lakes such as Bosumtwi meteorite crater and the largest man-made lake in the world by surface area, Lake Volta; not to mention... Read More
Djibouti, a small country on the Horn of Africa, is a mostly French and Arabic speaking country. With the area made up of dry shrub lands, volcanic formations and Red Sea beaches, the climate is hot, dry, and harsh. The country is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder is bordered by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Independence Day in Djibouti
Independence Day for Djibouti is a highly celebrated and public holiday. According to Maps of World, this day marks the independence won by this country in the Horn of Africa from their erstwhile masters, France. Djibouti Independence Day is celebrated... Read More
With Father’s Day quickly approaching, minds are consumed with thoughts on how to make the annual day exciting yet memorable. Around the world Father’s Day is not a fixed holiday; however, the spirit and ideology remains the same. It is a celebration and day to honor your father or someone who has been a father figure in your life.
Generally, it is celebrated on the third Sunday in June. Many people take this day to thank everyone from their father, grandfather, and uncle; to stepfather, or foster- father. As if there wasn’t enough pressure for Mothers Day, you are now are left with trying to find the perfect card, tie, or coffee mug. Nevertheless, take a look at how it all started, and how this day is celebrated in different parts of the world!
History – Father’s Day in the USA
Americans love their holidays, if there’s a day to celebrate you can guarantee we... Read More
For Kenyans around the world, June 1st is Madaraka Day, a day to celebrate a historical event that led to the independence of Kenya.
What is Madaraka Day?
Madaraka, meaning “autonomy” or “self-rule”, Day is a national Kenyan holiday to commemorate the day that Kenya became a self-ruling nation in 1963.
How is Madaraka Day Celebrated?
Madaraka is a festive holiday where Kenyans all over the world gather together for celebration, dancing, food and family. Some people plant trees to honor and remember those who fought and gave their life for the country’s independence.
According to the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife office in Nairobi, "On this day, the main event takes... Read More
Every person who packs up and goes overseas has a story to tell. Extended vacations, long-term employment & academic opportunities, refugee resettlement, or simply striking out boldly in pursuit of a different (hopefully better) life – leaving home and heading abroad is scary, exciting and fun all at once.
VIP Communications connects ex-pats with their home countries every day. We’re fortunate enough to hear about those individual stories all the time. And over the past 20 years, they’ve accumulated into quite a collection of trials & triumphs, overcoming the odds, assimilating into foreign cultures, and creating a new way of living.
Our company is built on connecting over 100,000 customers to their friends, family and loved ones back home. Yet those connections go far beyond a chat with mom or catching up with an old friend from school. If you listen closely... Read More
Earth Day's 45th anniversary is almost here.
Wednesday, April 22 is the day when people around the world come together to talk about Mother Earth.
This year, the Earth Day Network is urging global leaders, businesses and citizens to commit to do their part to bring more awareness of the link between economic growth and sustainability. They are calling out to the leaders of the world to support massive climate change policies and make larger investments in renewable, less impactful energy... Read More
On April 4th, 56 years ago this year, in 1959, Senegal and French Sudan merged to form the Mali Federation. This Saturday, Senegalese pepole all over the world will celebrate Senegal Independence Day. And even though actual independence for Senegal was on June 20, 1960, the holiday is celebrated on the anniversary of the founding of the Mali Federation.
The country of Senegal is located in Western Africa, and has some of the most beautifui landscapes and interesting wildlife West Africa has to offer.The Senegalese people are known for their friendliness and hospitality. Approximately 75 percent of Senegalese live in its capital, Dakar, the African continent’s westernmost city and most speak French.
... Read More
The United States, it is said, is a nation founded and built by immigrants. As U.S. population trends show, the Washington, D.C. area remains a preferred destination for immigrants. And in the capital area, perhaps no other group has grown as quickly as African-born immigrants. Some VIP Communications customers (including immigrants from Ghana and elsewhere) are already aware of this trend, yet the news still surprises many people, including recent and long-time African immigrants to the United States.
According to a story in the Washington Post by Pamela Constable, the African-born population has doubled every decade in the greater Washington metro area for the past 40 years. Those numbers parallel the overall U.S. growth of African immigrants; in 1970, there were roughly 80,000 African-born immigrants in the U.S. Today,... Read More
Over the past ten years, texting has become a huge part of our daily lives. But, as it turns out, making an actual phone call is still the most popular way to communicate, and there are lots of reasons why.
A recent survey revealed that the majority of adults–56 percent–would rather make a call than text, and texting is at a distant 25 percent for the preferred type of communication. People prefer phone calls even more–76 percent–when it comes to sharing a special moment or news with family and friends. Even Millennials–notoriously incessant texters–admitted to preferring calling when it came to important news. So, you’re probably wondering just why calling trumps texting. Well, here are a few compelling reasons:
- Less Time Consuming... Read More
Making long distance phone calls to loved ones is just one of many popular Valentine’s Day activities. Much more than a day to express love, Valentine’s Day includes its own rituals, rites of passage and regional ceremonies.
Valentine’s Day, perhaps more than any other holiday, has gone global. Halfway across the world or even right across your nearest national border, there’s a good chance how you celebrate Valentine’s Day differs from pretty much everybody else. Let’s take a trip around the globe – the Far East, Africa, Europe and South America – for some unique, unexpected and interesting Valentine’s Day traditions.
Known for fascinating flora, Taiwan brings Valentine’s Day and flowers together in romantic fashion. In fact, the country loves Valentine’s Day so much, they celebrate it twice (February 14th and July 7th). Men... Read More
As anyone with family or friends overseas knows, making international phone calls can be quite an adventure. And even if you don’t make frequent out-of-country phone calls, the process itself is somewhat daunting. Who has the best rates? What kind of sound quality will I get? What happens if my conversation lasts a long time – will I be charged an arm and a leg? These are just some of the issues that an international call presents.
We thought it would be beneficial to compile a “cheat sheet” for international calling. With VIP Communications, many of those unknown variables and questions are eliminated right off the bat. Our superior service and ultra-affordable rates make it easy for anyone to call anywhere, at any time.
Get a mobile app. These days, everyone has a cell phone. With... Read More
At VIP Communications, we know a thing or two about affordable international calling. It’s hard to believe, but at one time, “long distance” meant only a few hundred miles and within the same country.
Clearly, long distance calling has advanced considerably from the beginning to the present day, where you can enjoy cheap and dependable international long distance calls.
Here’s a brief history of long distance calling, with key dates & events.
1892 – AT&T creates the first interconnected long-distance telephone network, which stretched from New York City all the way to…Chicago? Yes, Chicago Well, it was the days of horses & buggies, so that was pretty impressive!
1911 – Loading coils... Read More
Those fortunate enough to be in Lalibela this coming January will enjoy a timeless Christmas celebration with at least 50,000 other pilgrims. Carved out of the red volcanic stone common in the area, the 11 monolithic churches of Lalibela are a symbol of Ethiopian resilience and ingenuity. Similarly, modern participants of Ethiopian Christmas often have to exercise more than a bit of ingenuity and resilience when in search of Ethiopian Christmas festivities outside of the country. If you've never heard of Ethiopian Christmas until reading this article, be sure to check out some pages with great info... Read More