Chris and I purchased lonely planet's Amharic book and learned a few words and phrases before traveling to Ethiopia. We've learned a tad more since returning home and are trying to teach Ephraim what we do know.
There are differing opinions on this subject. Some believe it is important to teach your child some of his/her cultural heritage. Some believe working on another language can hinder your child learning English and be too confusing.
I believe it is important for us to teach Ephraim some of Ethiopian culture. We plan to follow his cues as he gets older and let him decide how interested or uninterested he is in these things. But for now, he's too young to decide so Amharic learning we go! And as far as confusing him with too many languages, he has a great handle on English and talks more than most kids I know at his age. And he manages to work in a few words in Amharic, too. So I don't think it's a problem for him.
I am enjoying teaching him Amharic and it's just about the cutest thing to hear "acala" come out of his mouth when you give him something. "Acala" is his attempt at "ameuseugenallo" which means "thank you." I plan to teach all of our kids some Amharic, whether they're from Ethiopia or not. Because we're cool like that.
in his traditional Ethiopian outfit