Oliver, Harvey (2011-11-01). Feed the World: Birhan Woldu and Live Aid (Kindle Locations 415-421). New Holland UK. Kindle Edition.
‘I was so happy to set eyes on my beautiful little Birhan for the first time. My own childhood had been full of death, despair and suffering. I wanted my little girl to have a different life. I had passed the darkness of my early life and everything was now bright. So we called our new daughter Birhan, which means “light” in our language. Tigrayan farmers prefer boys; they are strong and can plough but I love my girls. I felt God had looked on me with fortune. I now had my own farm and a third daughter. The harvests had been good; I had honey and yoghurt for my beautiful wife and children.’ The little girl took her father’s first name ‘Woldu’ as her surname, following Ethiopian custom. There was no birth certificate, no registration. Nor could anyone in the extended family read and write to record the event. Like many in Ethiopia’s rural heartlands, Birhan does not know her birth date nor the exact year in which she was born. Woldu himself estimates that he is approximately 63. He laughs at what he sees as the Western fixation with age, saying: ‘I know when the sun rises and falls. Is that not enough? We were more worried about getting through each harvest with enough food for our children than worrying how old we were. God decides how long you have in this world.’