Prologue: This is a travel narrative about Eritrea, a tiny sun-drenched country along the Red Sea, and Ethiopia, its giant southern neighbor and former colonial overlord. Among the oldest civilizations on earth, these two African countries can boast over 2,000 years of recorded history. Eritrean and Ethiopian histories interlock, yet still maintain distinctive features. Eritrea's past revolves around foreign incursions and occupation, as well as ongoing trade and cultural mingling with Mediterranean and Arabian worlds. Ethiopian history speaks of imperial glory and dominance, and for great swaths of time isolation, as its Christian kingdoms held out in highland strongholds while Islamic and pagan militaries swirled around them. Today, both countries, having just emerged from a thirty-year war, are dirt poor. Many citizens live on less than one dollar a day and both nations receive millions of dollars annually in food and development aid. But, with many well-trained professionals among local and exiled populations, rebounding economies, the rule of law, and rich histories and cultures to draw upon, Eritrea and Ethiopia represent the brightest hope for democracy and growth in Africa in the new millennium.