Silence of the sheep

September 8, 2008 at 9:00 am 7 comments

The young brother of a friend’s was graduating yesterday. He didn’t want anybody fussing over him, so we’ve decided to take him out of town and treat him to a lunch & a private photograph session in which he’ll be wearing his gown and cut a cake (whose frozen bottom was stabbing the sister’s tigh with it’s hundreds of mean little fingers even as we drive).

Any hot-blooded Ethiopian would tell you there isn’t a more perfect time to drive out of town, and enjoy the scenery, as the week before New Year: when the hill tops are half covered in a brooding cloud, and their bottom in lush green; when the fields seem to wink at a passer-by with the golden yellow and black flower that heralds the approaching of a new day, with its promises of change and when “Ager AQwarach” (cross-country) buses flood-by laden with holiday necessities to the urban population: charcoal, grasses with various shades of green and luggages that belongs to men and women coming to spend the holiday with their families.

Things have been changing lately, ofcourse. “The fields covered in Adey abeba” has proved one of those things we tell our younger kins as happening way before their time. Just as rare, it seems, as seeing the “Kiremt” (rainy season) kick-in around the beginning of June or hearing the sound of harmonicas play at “TimQet meda”, or the delicious pleasure of eating a “sambusa”, which everybody considered was a “durye migib” (bad-boy’s meal) back then.

So I was far from expecting to see the sides of the streets covered in “adey abeba”. But I wasn’t expecting them to be crowded by herds of sheep wearing bright green & red ribbons neither. The sheep that had ribbons on looked more feminine than those sheep without. But that wasn’t the funny part. The funny part was, the ribbons used to help tell each sheep apart were exactly alike. They used to serve as the demarcation lines for the various construction works being done around the area, these ribbons, and every pastoralist seems to have gotten his hands on them.

“How would they know which sheep belongs to who?” I asked, baffled by the sea of similar-ribbon wearing sheep coming from every which way blocking the road and making our journey slower than that of a snail’s.

“They’d know!” said our driver confidently.

“Why steal the ribbons in the first place then?” I wondered.

“You aren’t from this part of the country” the driver joked “Whatever one farmer is seen doing, the next farmer copies. They’ve made a culture of it”.

Then, ofcourse, the discussion turned to prices and the holiday. We all confessed how this “Addis Amet” hasn’t been the kind of “Addis Amet” we’ve always anticipated. To me personally the New Year “has just happened”. I wouldn’t have known Hamle/2000 E.C. has gone, never to return, if it weren’t for a notice on AAU’s board bearing my name and advising I contact my advisor until Pagume 5. Which maybe a sort of hangover from last year’s anticipation & the social & political disappointments that followed. Just as well!

However, the hike in the price of goods and services hasn’t helped neither. My mother has been telling me only the other day of her plan to swallow the pride and buy “yebegg siga beKillo” for the holiday. Which encouraged my uncle-in-law to confess how, if it weren’t for “Ali-Amoudi’s chickens”, he has no choice but to consider vegetarianism this new year (a life style that felt almost as unmanly to him as having your “kitfo” cooked). These two being at the head of families whose income is equal to or more than 2,000 birr a month, giving them an almost middle-class status in Ethiopia, it’s safe to assume there would be plenty of sheep-free space to stretch the legs while riding minibuses this holiday around. Not that a kicking & screaming sheep will be the worst thing that can happen to you while riding a minibus in Addis these days. So..

Peace & Prosperity to the motherland;

A chance to see another New Year for those of us in Addis;

And Melkam Addis Amet (Happy Ethiopian New Year) to all Ethiopians!

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Wednesday Blast kills 4 “Baaro Qen Wetalish!”

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. abyssinia  |  September 8, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Melkam Addis Amet,

    YeDesta,YeSelam ena YeFikir YaDirgilin!


  • 2. abesheet  |  September 12, 2008 at 6:21 am

    Thanks Abby & Mazzi,

    I have a feeling you’d wanna know how my new year went.

    Well, it’s been a peaceful new year. So that’s something to be very grateful about.

    It’s been a wet peaceful new year, which made wearing abesha kemis difficult for many, even this morning.

    I neither heard nor saw anybody with “yeBeg Qoda”. So there has been a silence of the sheep scenario. Which should make the non-existing animal rights group in Addis happy.

    I was in my major car accident when returning from my parent’s house last night. No one was hurt. It’s funny how we all jumped out, one even before the “Woyala” was able to open the door, & run as far away from the vehicle as we can the minute the landcruiser banged the mini-van we were in. I guess we all had “bombs” in mind. Imagine how it would have felt had it been an actual bomb!

    And, finally, i saw a guy getting a blow-job from a girl with a “chuBe” face. That was new. New and disturbing. Turned the stomach more than the famous “yawwdamet kiBat” did.

    My new year resolution would be to hear no evil, especially from my colleagues about my colleagues. It is the first step, i think, to achieving what Blen suggested I make my new year resolution: shutting up about it already with my comments on everybody that appeared on the television screen.

    Nice weekend y’all.

  • 3. Mazzi  |  September 12, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Selam Abesheet,

    I sure spoke too soon in the “Blog comment” section when I wrote “Hope the New Year was ‘all of dat’ and a bag of chips :-)” for you.

    A car accident that may have triggered legitimate fear of ‘bomb’ explosions of recent past definitely was not a great way to end the New Year. I am sorry to hear that you had to go through that! I am just glad no body was hurt. I so imagined the New Year’s Day to be full of sunshine, blue skies, great breeze, and crisp air. How disappointing to hear that it was wet, rainy, and probably a bit gloomy without the sun. But peaceful is always welcome even when the sun is missing.
    So ‘the silence of the sheep’ went as expected huh? Vegans and vegetarians might have celebrated that fact.

    No “Yebeg Qodda Yalew!!” Terri-s around the neighborhood then. Can it be amet be-al without that? Just kidding. I wish you all the luck in sticking to your New Year’s resolutions.

    Enqutatash was pretty much like any other day on this side, and though I had hoped to cook Abesha food for the day at least, ushered in the New Year with pizza picked up from a local pizza store. It can’t get any more boring than that.
    Before I ‘leave’, I simply HAVE to ask where exactly you saw a guy getting a blow-job!!! That sure must have been a weird experience. I can’t even guess what the circumstances might have been. How peculiar!

    Have a great weekend.

  • 4. abyssinia  |  September 12, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    What a way to start the new year!!! Glad to hear you are okay abesheet, that must have been really scary. Enquan bezih alefe!

    Eew, did you really see a guy getting a BJ in broad daylight? How awful…

  • 5. abesheet  |  September 15, 2008 at 6:44 am

    Thank you ladies, for the new year wishes.

    Yeah the “bomb” threat was scary. But not as scary as seeing a girl’s head bob up and down on a guy’s privates before 9:00 p.m. Well, we were in the mini-bus we took after the accident and she was laying her hooded-head on his tigh when i got in. Everybody thought she was sick from either the cold or the “kibaat”, i guess, so moved on to the other chairs (even if we ill-afforded it, not many taxis go into the street on Enqutatash night, especially when it’s rainy). The Woyala, who was outside calling, was the first one to see it. He came back to arrange his little “duka” for people to sit on when they come. I was sitting opposite him and was surprised by the look of astonishment on his face, the kind you get when somebody who was supposed to jump out and say boo jumped out, said boo and kicked you in the shin. So i turned my face to where “the kids” were sitting, the sit before me. His heart was beating so hard that you can see it on his “shemiz”, that was the first thing that caught the attention and dragged my eye to where a busy hooded head was bobbing up and down. She didn’t raise her head until her mobile rang, where she gave a fake cough, answered it and screamed at somebody that she was coming. The guy, who for some reason i felt sorry for, maybe because of the protective way he was holding her hand (God knows from what) after we all got off (THE TAXI!!!), looked dizzy & enchanted. I actually tried to take a photo of them using my mobile, with her head on his shoulder, to blow it here and send her family an SOS (my name is abesheet and i’m from that generation). What is the internet for, after all, i’ve mused. But i changed my mind in favor of pushing her out of my way like the filth i perceived her to be when exiting. That way, i figured, she’d know i knew and that would teach her a lesson. Maybe she did, maybe it didn’t. Maybe they are two kids in love. Maybe it was none of my business. Still, even calling her a “Qoshasha” when she passed by me didn’t feel better.

  • 6. Mazzi  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:25 am

    I am stunned by this very public display of sexual act by a very “unembarrassed” girl (not so much the act itself) and a very happy guy who would accept a BJ where ever he gets it. Could it be lack of privacy for young couples, that induces such act, since it might not even be easy for them to date openly in the community let alone freely have sex? Or is it a case of an extreme “We don’t give a shit” attitude from the couple who have no regards for others’ feelings or comfort in public? Either way, what an experience to witness!

  • 7. abesheet  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Could it be lack of privacy for young couples, that induces such act, since it might not even be easy for them to date openly in the community let alone freely have sex? Or is it a case of an extreme “We don’t give a shit” attitude from the couple who have no regards for others’ feelings or comfort in public?


    The classic: he was honry and she thought he’d hate her if she said no! Whatever happened to giggling nervously, saying “asbibetalehu”, go home, cry in your pillow for days and get over it? I mean, a man would take what he can get, we all know that. It’s the girl’s job to make use of the iron fist underneath the silken glove to keep it in check. Or, as all good mommas would tell you, the minute he got what he wanted, it’s bye-bye birdie. Call me old-fashioned, or even an old fart, but I don’t think we abeshas can reach that level of sexual freedom any time soon. That’s what my husband said when he saw me hemorraging over The DaVinci Code’s claim that Jesus was married and had kids. “You still think sex is filthy” he observed amused “that’s why you don’t want to imagine your precious Jesus lying in bed with a woman”. I no longer care. But King Solomon had a point when he instructed “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Ethiopians are living proof of that.

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