The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ethiopian Firsts

Feb 15, 2014- First use of a Shint Bet.
It was at a stop on our 12-hour bus ride to Demystification in Bonga and I couldn’t tell and didn’t know if there was one for male and one for female  (there isn’t). So I stood there awkwardly, examining these two Shint Bets before starting towards one and changing my mind and going into the other. Overall, it was successful, but it was dark and I couldn’t see much, so I am just assuming the best.

Feb 15, 2014- First “you, you, you, ferenj, ferenj, ferenj”
            Within one minute after we walked out of the bus station in Bonga a hoard of kids spotted us and started yelling, “you, you, you, ferenj, ferenj, ferenj, money, money, money.” This happens so much now, it’s hard to believe there were days in Ethiopia I did not hear it.

March 8, 2014- First time doing laundry in Ethiopia.
            I really shouldn’t say that I did laundry, it was more like I would start to wash a shirt or pair of pants and one of my sisters would shake their head and take it from me. They showed me several times how to do it, but never seemed to be satisfied.

March 15, 2014- First animal slaughter.
            One evening I came home after training to an endless bleating coming from our outdoor kitchen. I peaked over the flimsy piece of wood blocking the door to see what would be my dinner for the next week. My mom came out and saw me looking and smiling she said “Beg,” as she slide her finger across her neck. The next Saturday, my daily, way-too-early, wake up call would finally stop. When it was over, a dead sheep and an increasing pool of blood filled the hallway of the main house making it tougher and tougher to get from one room to the other with clean shoes. By the afternoon there was no sign that sheep had just been slaughtered in our house besides the head and end of the tail carelessly thrown into our front yard.

March 16, 2014- First attempt making Shiro.
            My sister, Elham, stood beside me, watching very closely, as she gave me step-by-step instructions on how to make shiro. Although, there was nothing more complicated than chopping onions, adding ingredients, bringing it to a boil, and stirring, my mom and sister were incredibly proud my shiro-making abilities. As my family and I ate, they insisted it was delicious and I knew they really thought it was, if only because their new ferenji daughter and sister had made it.

March 25, 2014- First Ethiopian gorsha.
            While eating with the compound family of my site mate, Amanda, on site visit the 3-year-old Isra decided to gorsha me (feed me) about eight times. No better way to feel welcome.

April 27, 2014- First shitti/pajama/Ethiopian moomoo-
            As a going away present, my amazing host mother made me a shitti. A shitti (not sure if that is actually what it is called or just the ferenji name for it) is basically just a bag of colorful, patterned cloth with a head and arms holes. It very common wear for Ethiopian women (and anybody else who happens to ever try one on). I am in danger of wearing my wonderfully comfortable bag of cloth all the time, anywhere and everywhere.

April 20, 2014- First marriage proposal.
            Day was fading into dusk as I walked home to Kebele 5 one evening and, as commonly happened, an Ethiopian man started talking to and walking with me. He told me he loved me and asked me to get coffee with him several times. After insisting I couldn’t and telling him to go away to no avail, I told him I had a boyfriend. That’s when he popped the question. “Marry me, you.” It was sweet, but I had to decline. After that I started ignoring him and he eventually lost interest. I hope the next one will be a little more romantic, or, at least, phrased as a question.

May 18, 2014-First crazy addiction.
            Almost every day around 2 or 2:30 my neighbor invites me over for coffee. We sit, drink, eat collo, and watch this completely ridiculous Bollywood drama in Arabic. I love it. I can’t understand it and my neighbors can’t understand it, but we are totally engrossed by it. Mainly, the show follows this love story of two young adults who occasionally talk, but mostly just start longingly at each other as the mood music plays softly in the background. I am now way too invested in this love story and will have make time in my extremely busy (not busy at all) day to further my addiction. 

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