Unbeknownst to most folks, Patagonia received a diplomatic visitor last Thursday.
Ambassador Taye Habte Atske-Selassie, Ethiopian director general for the Americas/foreign affairs, was in southern Arizona promoting business, health, education and nutrition when he and his entourage stopped in town for the afternoon.
Project PPEP (Portable Practical Education Preparation) director John Arnold, who was touring with Selassie, said Patagonia was included on the itinerary because the ambassador wanted to do something cultural.
After being shown around Grayce's Candle Shop and learning a bit about the history of the area, Arnold opened up the Day of the Dead Museum as well as the Harley-Davidson Museum for a walk-through.
When asked for his thoughts on Patagonia, Selassie said he was very impressed with the amount of history for such a small town.
"He really liked the community," said Arnold, who added that the ambassador said he wanted to bring his family to Patagonia during his next visit.
Later that day Arnold took Selassie to The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center where the ambassador had supper and learned what he could do to further improve nutrition in Ethiopia.
"We have been talking about doing a natural cures diabetes seminar in Ethiopia," said Arnold, who added that the Project PPEP along with the Tree of Life has worked with the nations of Ghana and Nigeria to form the West African Rural Empowerment Society in an effort to bring exchanges. He said in January, four people from Nigeria and Ghana will go to the Tree of Life and PPEP in order to learn about whole food preparation.
In addition to Patagonia, Selassie visited the PPEP Tech High School in Tucson and Sahuarita, where he checked out a rural housing development and micro-loan program. He also stopped in Arivaca, where he had lunch at the community garden.
"That's two kings and an ambassador in one year," said Arnold, referring to visits to Patagonia by kings from Ghana and Nigeria earlier this year.