A Eulogy for “Sholan Geremew”
They say the owner was a Lawyer, or “negere fej” as was called back then. A hard up business man who resumed the construction when he got money and didn’t when he didn’t. It took him more than 10 years to finish building! A fact which kept, legend has it, all of “Shola” (residents between “Qebena” and “Megenagna”), who no doubt were strangers to big buildings at that time (more than 45 years ago) in wonder. “Sholan Geremew”, the building was later dubbed. But that’s not the only reason why “Shola” was kept in wonder by the towering edifice in it’s midst. Not only did the owner die soon after, but nobody dared rent it for a long time to come. So, there it stood, looking high and mighty at the forested neighborhood beneath it, as cold & lonely as the high and mighty are always said to end up :-).
After Dergue took it, however, the top two buildings were taken by successful bachelors and the ground floor was rented out to, lemme see, a Cleaners (or laundry), a video shop which later adopted the name “Take Fun” and whose logo was drawn by my cousin Silesh who never impressed me as an artist, another Cleaners, a pastry slash café and a Kidus Gabriel clinic. Infront of which I once saw an old man crossing himself and bowing. On the bright side, he was literate! Edme LeMeserete Timhirt!
We grew up calling it “Bichaw foQ” while the adults, who witnessed its progress all their school life, kept referring to it by it’s original name. It was the coolest spot in my neighborhood when I grew up! It was the location you gave for your first “Qetero”, the place where cars dropped you off so nobody from your neighborhood would see you and where kisses were stolen before hitting ground.
And now.. there is none!
Well, almost! Herebelow is what’s left of it, front and side. No doubt about it, it’s the end of an era! Of a glorious era filled with childhood memories (both good & bad) that “will never return”, as we say in Amharic!
Which is why we fare thee well, oh your building-ness, with love and fond memories. And a promise that you’ll always remain in our hearts – just the way you were!
The Remains of an Era!
P.S. For those of you who vaguely remember a tall “mamma” infront of British Embassy with “I love you hotel” subscribed on it’s side in a glaring paint, that ain’t it! This one was located infront of the Russian Embassy & Gene Bank.
P.S.2. Jofe Amoraw’s tribute to Sholan Geremew.