On love & “yenuro wudinet”
Chewatan chewata yanesawal newwna, Sistu’s mention of Gigi’s song: “Enen YerAbegn” (otherwise known, to this sister atleast, as the Amharic version of John Lennon‘s “Love is all we need”) reminded me something that’s been bugging me whenever I came across *it* and Tilahun Gessese’s “Migbma Moltoal”.
I don’t have the least interest in debating if love is indeed all we need (however true the statement would feel on lonely, but otherwise “full to the brim”, Saturday evenings when every one of your friends seem to be out and about enjoying themselves)! “Unlike the folks at Hallmark would have you believe” Zadie Smith argues (not her exact words) “Love is not all we need. ‘Clean Water’ is what we need. Electricity! Education”!. All those mundane, unromantic things that would probably not make a cute song!
The following is going to sound unpatriotic, but it’s no mystery to any of us Ethiopians (and the rest of the world, unfortunately) that we’ve never had food surplus since ….. ever! Sure, “Michael dabo” used to be sold for 10 cents a piece two decades ago. But that’s also the time in which my father and mother’s income put together barely comes to 400 birr a month and they had to chip in for the keeping of both their extended families.
That’s why our holidays & festivities have too much food (and “qUntan”) in them. Did you know? I didn’t! until an older colleague from Tigrai told me (when he heard me complaining how our holidays were fun-less and “all about food”) how that was a tradition brought about by necessity. Back when draught was hitting our country over and over again, and people didn’t have “gotera mulu ehil” “to burn” and “meda mulu keBt” to “refrain from slaying” on a fasting day! How they took “difo dabo beTikesha” and “tela beQimchana” as a gift to family and friends’ house since holidays were the only times in which they could afford to partake-of these luxuries! Tebabro mesrat, tebabro meblat! “That’s how it went for centuries”, he said, “nothing to do with having no fun-bone in our bodies or lack of imagination in our soul as you young’uns seem to think nowadays!”
What a lesson that was! And what a surprise! One of those rare moments that reminded me the thing I love & took pride in about being Ethiopian the most!: the fact that we can always spare something from the little we have, and be there for those we don’t even like when they need a helping hand, or a shoulder to cry on.
Ofcourse, with the mounting inflation rate and the resulting sky rocketing price of “yeFijota eQawoch” (or vice versa, or maybe not); and the need to find yet more “hisets” on the government (and I’m not saying it shouldn’t shoulder the lion’s share of the blame, but the *need* seems to be there even when *it* isn’t) some may gleefully “maMwaret” that history is about to repeat itself! And they may not be far from the truth! The price of “Andd kilo Siga” is 34 birr going 40 (in “Fisleta” too!) and “Sheno Qibe” has hit an all time high of 70 birr a kilo! We may, therefore, start eating them in rounds, like “equb”! Better yet, may finally decide to become vegetarians and have skinnier, healthier, bodies (the minute the price of “Fosolia” came down to 3 birr a kilo, like it was about a year ago, and timatim’s stayed at 4). This sister could definitely do with a healthier diet thrown into her evenings. As “QiQil dinich bechew”, “QiQil dinich beMitmita”, “QiQil Dinich Safi” seems to be all she eats nowadays J. Plus a handful of snow for “mawerareja”, and what do you find? A plump little woman whose friends & families refer to as “Sasha”, who ties her “shaash” under her chin while dancing to an accordion “muZiQa”.
Everything is so “meChemering” these days (the “giShbet”, the “muQet”) “even sostu silasewoch amist honewal”, according to a friend. Funny! Yet, perhaps true too!. I mean what with everyone going “religious” nowadays (another “yenuro wudinet” result, perhaps? LeSiga baYimech leNefs mas’seb?!) which I can tell by the many spiritual songs they have started playing on mini buses (one of them about the Zemari’s decision to follow the “the good Samaritan’s” example, who he said didn’t open his mouth ‘before his shearers’) things may have become a handful to [just] 3 Silasewoch!
Still, I know better days would come! When we can manage to become better people, that is! So it’s not an open and shut case. There is hope for us. With in us! Things will be better. Maybe not in the next 20 years. But some day!
So.. No! Love is, infact, all we have right now [babe!]. All we ever have/had! That’s why Ethiopia is still a country of people with “feriHa Egziabher” in them (whatever name the “Egziabher” goes by) instead of the “den of robbers” some of our fellow African countries are said to be known for.
Peace & prosperity to Ethiopia! Africa! The World!
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