25 diciembre 2013

Ethiopia, day 9, part 2: Saturday, 14 December

-As we were driving down the mountain, Aaron asked, "Do you want to try to carry one of those loads of wood?"  "Yes!"  So... there are some women who make their living by carrying huge loads of wood on their back, down Mt. Entoto.  About half way down, Aaron stopped the car and asked a small group of these women if I might try.  "Sure!" they giggled.  So, the most obliging woman, who happened to be from Soddo!, strapped me in and...

 Um... I didn't budge it.  I tried again... not a centimeter!  I even had Kate come and give me a hug, trying to bend me forward enough to lift it a bit.  Not even then!  I was ashamed.  These ladies do one or two trips a day, sometimes barefoot, and I... nothing.  I did feel a bit better when Aaron also tried and barely moved it.
-Fizzy Ambo at the Lucy Cafe
-I was able to meet Girum, Z's friend, on his movie set.
-super-tasty dinner at Sure Catering with friends
-timely arrival at Bole Airport
-Thank God for BenadrylS!!

Ethiopia, day 9, part 1 (only because of technical difficulties): Saturday, 14 December

-a robust cup of coffee, or two
-a blessed breakfast with Birtukan, during which time she suggested that we return to do our trainings with the older kids at Yezelalem Minch!!!!!!!!!!!  Numbers begin crunching, calendar pages flip in my mind...  :)
-an informational (thanks to Ethio-Herb) and fun (thanks to tattoos, thumb wars and my big teeth) visit to Yezelalem Minch
-a delicious lunch of VERY garlicky pasta, bread and salad
-a macchiato at Jacaranda Cafe, while waiting to meet Aaron:  I know that I should not say this here, since the prejudiced Russians seem quite interested in my travels, but... I felt like a spy.  Sitting at a cafe in a very foreign land, waiting to meet up with someone... Ha!
-a successful rendez-vous with Aaron
-fabric shopping with car guarding kids and a personal shopper  (Katie, you were right!)
-another drive up Entoto and a walk around the countryside:  This was so breath-taking (figuratively and literally... and I wish that I could blame the latter on the altitude, but I can't).  Thanks, Aaron!

If I were to live in Addis Ababa, I'd LOVE to live up here!

zigzagging our way down

This looks like a painting that I've seen somewhere.

Ethiopia, day 8: Friday, 13 December

-steaming, rich, stimulating coffee
-coffee ceremony lesson and the evolution of authenticity
roasting the beans in my lounge-wear

grinding the beans

My assistant, Yogi, stopped me to take a very important phone call.

Success!  Pouring tasty coffee... not in my lounge-wear:  The staging director decided that we had to up our game.
-another nice walk
-successful purchase of shiro powders  (It's amazing what one can do with just a few words of another language!)
-a delicious, just-spicy-enough Ethiopian lunch
-sun-bathing to the jingling of horse buggy bells

-Birtukan gave me cieni, the traditional coffee cups... my diploma from coffee ceremony school?
-last dinner with the Olsen family, a Mexi-feast complete with dreamed of guacamole!
-another power outage
-Birtukan's explosive prayer for the Olsen family
-"Goodbye, Jackson Olsen."  And... we cried.

Ethiopia, day 7: Sugarday, 12 December

(OK, so I'll try to vary my adjectives.  Even I'm bored...)

-Very strong, hot, straight-from-the-mother-and-father-land coffee
-So, Bethany Christian Services asked me to write a bit about our trip to Ethiopia for a posting on their blog.  As part of my research, I asked to make a home-visit to one of the ladies that had been in my cooking classes.  Imani took Katelyn and me to the home of... I'll call her Winnie.  (As I got to know her through the training, I decided that she has the face of comedy.  You see, once, while doing laundry with my sisters in Nice, the laundromat attendant told me, "Tu dois faire de la comEdie!" because of my facial expressions.  I felt the same about this dear lady.)  Anyways, so we knocked on the red metal wall surrounding the little compound of Winnie and she happily welcomed us in.  Wow.  I have never been in a situation like that before.  That she can make a comedic face at all is beyond me.  I had a list of questions prepared for her, so we talked through those, then we prayed and then she showed us her business, making straw and mud coverings for the injera cookers. 
This is the face and posture that captured my attention.

with the injera covers

outside of her home

Part of her job in the community, which she does in exchange for her living quarters, is to blow the horn upon a member's death. 
-We returned to the office for the end of Jessie's classes. 
showing off their string bags
-coffee break 
On accident, that cup of coffee that I was drinking was about half sugar and half coffee.  Holy heart palpitations!
-Kate and I bought some embroidered goods from Halima, one of the ladies in Jessie's class.
-relaxing balcony time
-Birtukan arranged a coffee ceremony for us, complete with cake!

Joni, smelling the just-roasted beans

Preparing my jebbena, there on the coals, which must be done so that your first batches of coffee don't taste like mud.
-the promise of a personal coffee ceremony lesson tomorrow
-the promise of more shiro wat for tomorrow's lunch
-We were then taken to visit one of the orphanages with which Bethany Christian Services has a relationship.  Kate's office had collected SO MANY donations, which we happily passed on to them.  Unfortunately, most of the kids were at school, but we did get to visit the "baby" room and one sweet little boy with molluscum (for whom, therefore, I have a soft spot) put up his arms, wanting me to carry him.  So, I obliged.  -a sigh-  This orphanage, upon learning what we had done that week with Bethany, asked if we would do the same with their older kids.  My eyes become like saucers!  Yes, I think that we could arrange that for our next trip!  And already I was thinking of dates and people and, and, and!
-Then Bethany gave us a surprise thank-you get-together, complete with cakes (!!!!) and gifts of beautiful fabric with an Ethiopian cross, framed. 
-Kate and I were than able to take another nice neighborhood walk.

our daily route

some of the sights... at least a dog wasn't presently gnawing on it

Mm... salad!

Not only is there eucalyptus pole scaffolding, there are also some amazing ramps.

horses in the foyer

We weren't able to get a photo of the well-signed "Obama Green Space" because there was an attendant standing guard.  I wonder if Obama knows that he has a Green Space in an outlaying neighborhood of Addis Ababa.
-We were then taken to a traditional dinner, along with the Olsen family, which included spicy!!! peppers and a bit of dancing with Senait and Jackson!
an entire fasting platter!

Oh yeah, I ate it!  Well, I ate half of it.  It was a bit much, even for me.

The Ethiopian Working Group: Amy, Kate, Jessie and Senait

23 diciembre 2013

Ethiopia, day 6: Wednesday, 11 December

-great sleep last night
-great morning coffee
-great (Yes, everything really was this great!) crepe making class by Kate
Let me say a bit about that old wine box on the table:  In it were 80 eggs.  We carried those eggs to and fro everyday, because I didn't know when Birtukan, the owner of the guesthouse, wanted her cooking lessons.  By the end of the week, only two had broken!

So, I had the oil and paintbrush ready to prepare the mitad not to stick.  "NO!  We don't use oil!"  Yikes!  Crushed collard green seeds are used.  You heat up the mitad, sprinkle on some seeds, cover for a minute or two and then wipe them off with a towel. 

Thankfully, Kate had previously mentioned that the first crepe usually doesn't turn out... because it didn't.  The rest were a success!

busy at work

Proudly showing off their crepes!  Kate had told them, during her initial explanations, that they would probably all be better at making crepes than her, considering its similarity to injera.  She was correct. 
-I received a short Amharic lesson:  "Denadirsh."  "Denadirk."  "Denaderachu."  (That last form is my favorite!)
-blessings, kisses and hugs galore at the end of the lessons... even some tears

end of class photo

This lady, Zewde?, on pasta making day, asked me how she was supposed to make pasta at home if she didn't have the tools.  I said, "There is a surprise tomorrow."  Here she is, very happy to have a dough cutter!
-a freedom walk down our neighborhood's main street
-I got to hand wash more clothes.
-relaxing on the balcony with Kate
-Kate and I taught Birtukan and Genet how to make crepes and English Muffins, which we then had for breakfast the next morning.  The ladies then taught me how to make shiro wat and spicy tea.
-So, up to this point, we hadn't had any Ethiopian food.  And while Kate and I were sunbathing on the balcony a bit ealier, we were dream-talking about it... "If we could just have some mesir wat!"  "Oo, my mouth is watering for injera."  Well, as Birtukan was showing me how to make shiro wat, she asked if we liked Ethiopian food, to which we both eagerly replied, "Yes!"  "Do you want some?"  "Yes!"  So, we had a little impromptu kitchen-lunch of wats and injera.  Yeetaftal!
-another hot shower
-Also while we were in the kitchen, I told Birtukan how I wanted to buy a jebbena.  I had seen them for sale at the, what I'm going to call, chicken hut mart, but I was tongue tied.  Well, Birti taught me the phrases that I needed and told me how much it should cost, also teaching us those numbers and then... Kate and I took another freedom walk down main street, culminating in the successful purchase of a jebbena.  Wahoo!  This story gets even better...  Before going to Ethiopia I was a click away from buying an Ethiopian coffee set online for... more than $100!  Ah!  Thank God I didn't click!  Because, my jebbena, straight from the mother- and father-land cost 50 birr... that is, just under $3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That was almost worth the cost of the plane ticket!  Almost.
-During our shopping walk, we had a seriously close encounter with some cows and goats.
-promise of a coffee ceremony lesson
-after dinner chocolates and Scrabble Slam with the Olsen family... Jackson and I lost, Jeff and Joni won.

22 diciembre 2013

Ethiopia, day 5: Tuesday, 10 December

-great morning coffee
-Just when I thought I had memorized the way to and from the guesthouse and office, the driver would take a new way.  This one was my favorite.

These ladies, always with the giant sombreros, do such difficult labor: breaking up the rocky earth, carrying said rocks to and fro.  Ugh.
-The ladies for my class arrived quite late, which turned out to be a blessing. 
-VERY welcome reception from my ladies (I knew that my 20 words of Amharic would be charming!)
-The ladies all kissed my kids... on the photo that I had brought to pass.
-We prayed together... "Amin!"  "Amin!"  "Amin!"
-VERY successful English Muffin lesson

initial explanations, with the fabulous interpreter, Helena

"It's working!"  I had some serious doubts as I had never made them on a mitad before.

The eager Meseret
-a snack of k'olo, which was SO much more delicious than mine
-pre-pasta-lesson explanation of all of the support given to these ladies from our friends and family at home, which elicited ululation from the dear Bayush!

-successful pasta making lesson:  So successful, in fact, that after our lunch break, the ladies eagerly re-started without me!

the initial lesson

Look!  They already don't need me... just as it should be.

"Thinner, thinner, it needs to be thinner."

The girl off to the left was a whiz at making pasta.  Hers was by far the thinnest and best formed.  -enter interpreter-  "Oh, she has made pasta professionally before!" 

These two ladies bored easily of making SO MANY tiny bowties.  So, I offered to help them... in part, for sure, because the lady in the middle reminded me so much of my friend Katherine.

SO MUCH pasta!  We let it dry and then I bagged it up for the ladies to take home the following day.
-funny shadow-of-a-LADA taxi ride home... Thank God for first gear!
-I got to hand-wash towels and hang them to dry in the Ethio-sun!  My dream come true!

-Kate and I took another nice neighborhood walk: horses, dog packs, shy school girls wanting so badly to greet us
-tasty dinner
-"Thank you, God, for Benadryl!"