Friday, December 26, 2014

The Trip to Hailu's House

Now that we've been here a while, our coworkers are starting to invite us to their houses for coffee and snacks. It's really awesome because I feel like the community is really welcoming us to Durame and accepting us into their lives and culture. Yay, for integration! :)

A few weeks ago, we went with my coworker, Hailu, to the place where he grew up out in the country. After walking about 45 minutes out of town, we turned down a narrow road lined with plants and shaded by towering eucalyptus trees. It was beautiful already.

We met his brother and his family and his mother at the house where he grew up. His mother is very old and missing quite a few teeth, but very friendly and kind. She was very impressed with my limited Kambatissa (local language) skills and laughed deeply as I greeted her, showing all of the few teeth she has left.

Hailu was eager to show us around the whole place and we were happy to see how an Ethiopian farm works. First, we saw the barn, where the cows, goats, sheep, chickens, and his mother sleeps. See the picture below to see her bed, tucked into a back room of the barn. The corn hanging from the ceiling are seeds for next year. The cows are just to the right of the frame. Under where the corn is, is the pen for the goats and sheep to sleep at night.

As we toured the farm, we saw all kinds of fruit, vegetables, and grains. There were big avocado trees and swooping gishta trees, clumps of banana trees and single incet (false banana), small, sprightly coffee trees and thick mango trees, alight with blooms. We saw cabbage, sugar cane, bush beans and fields of golden tef, the grain they use to make the national dish, injera. It was absolutely amazing how many foods they were growing and how healthy everything looked, including the plump babies running around the house. :)

After the tour, we tried some sugar cane. It was our first time eating it and I must say, that stuff it tough!! First you have to whack a piece off with a knife. Then you have to take off the outsides with your teeth and spit it on the ground, you don't eat the purple part. Then finally, you have to gnaw a piece of the inside off, chew it a bit, suck the sweet juice out and spit it out. You don't actually swallow any of it but the juice. It is seriously hard work. My teeth were getting a work out! As you can see from the picture below, the kids were highly amused at my suffering.

Of course, no trip to an Ethiopian's house would be complete without having coffee and some snacks. We had bread, some delicious red beans, too many bananas to count, avocados and tiny cups of deliciously strong coffee. It's amazing that every single thing we had was probably grown within a mile (or closer!) of where we were sitting enjoying it.
On the walk home, in the afternoon sun, we caught a great view of Ambericho Mountain (the same one we can see from our living room window!).

Then we met up with a group of boys going to the market to sell matches. They were very friendly and wanted to speak with us. We used all the Amharic we could and then some. We asked them some simple English questions and a few could answer. They were a lot of fun!

It was a really great day. Ethiopian hospitality never ceases to amaze me. The kindness and love shown to us does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Durame and its people have found a place in my heart.

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