O ye faithful…

October 21, 2008 at 11:49 am 9 comments

The power of prayer

A friend of mine gave me a call this morning. She won’t be in town till the end of the week, she said, for she plan to go to “Tsadkane Mariam” (a convent outside the town of Debre Birhan) to pray over stuff that’s been bothering her. Or “EndReGaGa”, as she puts it. I didn’t ask what brought about this feeling of anxiousness. For I have been in on the details, shaking the head despondently every minute of the two months the relationship lasted.

Two months! It doesn’t seem long enough to make a girl want to eat “Qitel” over a guy dumping her, does it?. But love is a tricky thing. Ask Einstein if you want. It makes a day feel like thousand years, and thousand years like a day. When you feel you have landed the “right guy”, especially, however “bad idea” he seem to those around, it’s hard to put time frame on it. Or so I’d have tried to defend my friend’s decision had I believed in it.

Yet I don’t. For I have been in on many a relationship she’d had before latest guy too. I know, for example, about a dude she was hoping to tie the knots with only two weeks before this one came along. She hasn’t dated this other guy for long neither. Infact, she hasn’t dated him at all. He was fresh out of a long-term relationship, he has told her, and not ready to move on. Could they be friends? Still, a heart was available, so he decided to make sure it stayed available incase the worst comes. He kept her hanging: by telling her his likes/dislikes, calling her every evening or texting to ask how her day went, complaining of being ignored when she didn’t call or text back, being extra attentive every time he saw her talking to a guy and running back to her every time he got rejected by a girl (one from a scheme that involved her best friend). Still, she insisted on hoping he’d realize “she was the one” until the week he started ignoring her and his friend answered her tearful call. Buddy boy has got a girlfriend, the friend told her, was no more than “being nice” to her so can she please take it easy? That’s when she decided it was time to send me (her “Maria Puza”, the God-Mother), an SOS. Whereupon I exploded, in a typical Mafioso fashion, and called him names. Then I called her names, names she simply sucked her teeth and pleaded guilty to, and asked, among other things, how long she was going to let these a-holes make a sporting field of her heart. And if she doesn’t have any respect for herself.

Too much of a tough-love, perhaps, to those used to being told they were helpless in matters of love, unless aided by divine intervention. So now she’s going to a convent and pray it out. She’s gonne ask the creator (in a typical Bethlehem Mekonnen “yet newu yemagegnih” fashion), why he isn’t giving her the guy he created for her, or make her heart stronger. The Lord may have said it’s the truth that shalt set you free. But there is no problem a faithful prayer won’t solve. Right? For some reason, the truth has never been an option with this friend of mine. Tell her what you will: that she was crying over every guy that gave her a call because she was desperate. That desperation came out of the rotten value her mother, only 15 years her senior, and the females around her instilled in her from childhood. That “no” really means “no” when it comes to them guys. And the sooner she was ready to face that, the better; she seems to prefer to spiritualize everything that comes her way and seek a spiritual answer. I don’t know if that is the case with all “tswami tselai” Christians. But I’ve noticed the more religious people are, the more in denial they seem to prefer to live. What’s worse, they take pride in it. Seeing it as being dependent on the creator which He likes, making him go out of his way to oblige. And when their hearts get broken with frustrated hopes, with dreams untrue and enemies not just going unpunished but prospering, they ask “Haven’t I believed you? Haven’t I put my faith in you? Haven’t I boasted that you were my Lord and Savior existing for the sole purpose of carrying out my wishes?!”. Using “faith” to blackmail Him who have nothing to lose! Sounds almost insolent, doesn’t? Or am I the one who is without understanding? Is that why we have an extra title (of flattery?) for him, on top of all those he has in the rest of the world? Calling him “YeEthiopia Amlak” to show, when it comes to this horn of African country, a special type of “Godness”, a customized one, is needed?!

So, anywho, has the case been with this friend. My repeated attempt to let the truth deliver her, or atleast make her know where to draw the line, seem to bear no fruit. Now, if this friend was 38+, with a past attachment (to a man or a child) or have some kind of handicap she fears would make her a liability, her spending so much energy on “YeWonDoch Ginbar” would have made sense. But this girl is the prettiest girl we had in our “batch” at the university. If Neway Debebe met her, he’d swear that song of his “Gojjam teshagire gobez hogne metahu” was inspired by her, for she hales from the windy city of Bahir Dar (speaking of Neway Debebe and his songs, I don’t mean to be the fault-finder my mother always accuses me of, but doesn’t the word “ye wUUraGe Lij naat” make you wonder if he is that ignorant or having a blonde moment?).

Like I said, my friend is beautiful in the classic sense of the word (with long hair and all the fixings). She’s 28 years old, has a job with a promising prospect and lives in a family that isn’t exactly wealthy but far from begging for its daily bread (from humans, atleast). She has everything going for her, you might have observed, and you’d have been right. Her biological clock, however, seems to tick as if she’s a woman twice her age. She goes out with guys that hold no interest for her & confessing as much. She does everything they asked of her. And cries her heart out when they, for a reason known only to them and He “from whom nothing is hidden”, decide to break it off. After shamelessly calling, and demanding and entreating them, she comes running to the sister to confess her sins and get the kind of whopping she said would make her behave (for some days to come anyway). But not before prophesizing she’ll never survive this one, wondering what’s so wrong with her no man seems to want to stay and asking “Egziabherin min arekut?”. She has now decided to take it directly with the big guy. I wouldn’t wanna be in his shoes. But would continue to find it embarrassing! The fact that a girl is taking an annual leave to go to a convent for the purpose of praying over a guy that didn’t want her, instead of giving him the finger and saving her money for stuff that is actually worth it.

Bon voyage my dear.


Entry filed under: Latest Posts.

Got any plans for the weekend? Out of my mind

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mazzi  |  October 22, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Selam Abesheet,

    Very interesting post. I love your tough love approach to your friend’s ‘predicament.’

    The poor soul is going to that length to commiserate with herself and God at a far away convent, and yet, nothing is even registering in the world of the guy who seems not have been into the whole thing in the first place!

    I don’t know why on earth some of us women give that much power to other people in our lives who do not even give us half as much importance. Oh how I wish daughters are raised differently in our culture so their whole identity is not tied to whether they have a man, a husband, or children in their lives for them to count in the community.

    It takes a lot of personal strength to withstand the implied or out right stated pressures put on women to get married young or else face being ostracized in their communities even if they are accomplished in other ways. When the time is right, I wish your friend luck in finding someone compatible to her without the undo pressure she is putting on herself.

    In the mean time, I wish she had gone to a spa/resort to treat and pamper herself instead of a convent to pray to God for her annual leave. As far as I am concerned, God created the universe, gave us what we needed to conduct ourselves, and he has gone fishing since then. He does not care about our little life mishaps and dramas as much as we think he does :-).

  • 2. abesheet  |  October 22, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    You are so right about women giving men excessive powers Mazzi. That’s why the original title of the article was “The girls are just as bad”. Thought it would be more fun to play around with the title a bit. I do that more than is necessary. Which must be why most of the titles sound superficial, and sometimes sing a different tune to the article.

    No doubt we’ve all met guys we felt we can’t live without. May have even tried to manGoraGor, moQ silen, “bicha Ergun lisamew ayhidbeign yetim” with Gigi. But when the time came, we swallowed hard and hit the exit button. If she would rather stick around being treated like shit just so she could wake up next to him, for whatever reason, I say she deserves what she got.

  • 3. Totit  |  October 23, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Abesheet aren’t u being judgemental here…I have learnt the hard way that not everybody has the same strength in life…Our societal conditioning has had different effect on each and every one of us…Some of us can say fuck it …and be oblivious to what has been hammered in us, and some of us dont have neither the strength nor the luxury of doing so…So what happened to accepting each and everyone of us for who we are and treat and handle us accordingly…

  • 4. Ankami  |  October 23, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Hi Abesheet
    Do you think than the wemen roll in Ethiopia is realy changing?
    A friend of mine, here in Addis, said me, that his wife (a young a aparently modern women) and he are keeping some tradicional uses at home, some times unconcious. The fact, I think he wants to say that in Ethiopians homes the man is the “boss” and the woman must obey.( Sometimes in Spain is not so diferent). But he said too than this the las generation than live that situation.

  • 5. abesheet  |  October 23, 2008 at 9:05 am


    Have we met? 🙂 . I’m abesheet and I’m judgmental. But I don’t see “being judgmental” as necessarily a bad thing. If I weren’t judging (judging my friend as “acting stupid” for example), I’m doing one of two things:
    1. I’m pretending not to have noticed (the absence of growth, the never seeming to know better, the utter selfishness).
    2. Or I’m “Accepting”, as you said, the fact that my friend is irredeemable.
    Not very good options, are they? The first is being unfair to me, the second to my friend. A third option, an option I struggle a dozen times with before hitting the “Publish” button and one any loyal friend would do, is to not blog about it. Keep it a secret, so to say. Make it one of those things “about whom we shall not speak”. OR.. I blog about it, and you and my other readers read and comment on it. That way, you can help me see stuff I (for whatever reason) have failed to see. Or I you.

    Coming to Ankami’s question (do you think than the wemen roll in Ethiopia is realy changing?) I doubt I am the right person to ask this question, bro. As most of my blogs would tell you, I tend to take the extreme view of things. I mean ofcourse things are changing. More girls go to school nowadays, which means, there are more educated woman than (say) they were in my mother’s generation. And ofcourse with education comes power, etcetra. But from the women i see around me (at home, in school, at work) Alan Watts might as well have been talking about Ethiopians [women in particular] when he observed: “It is said that humanity has evolved one-sidedly, growing in technical power without any comparable growth in moral integrity, or, as some would prefer to say, without comparable progress in education and rational thinking.” By which i mean, I don’t see much difference between the values my mother, a traditional wife, has been trying to instill in me and the value most of the “learned” women around me argue for. It’s as if they simply “flew” through the courses, without a scratch. Be it child bearing, marriage, the roles of men and women, etcetra, they and my mom speak the same version of the same thing in, perhaps, a different or more sophisticated language. I’m not trying to appear liberated. Inspite of what the mind believes, I want the same things most of those around me want. But you won’t see me trying to sacrifice lives for causes and values I know are fucked up just because i’m doing them. I admit and I protest. I also try to save as much lives as I can. Why? Because I don’t have anything to prove. That’s the only reason i can think of.

    Still, things are changing and there is no denying that. Let’s hope they’d change more quickly than they seem to.

  • 6. Mazzi  |  October 23, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Hi Abesheet,

    This past weekend, the small Ethiopian community where I live threw a nice Ethiopian wedding to a very close friend of mine, and though she married an American, the wedding was almost entirely Ethiopian (food, music, rituals and all). For weeks prior to the weekend, we all had been in ‘wedding mood’ preparing for the big event, and as a result, listening to many traditional Ethiopian wedding songs to get the mood going.

    It had been a very long time since I had been to an Ethiopian wedding, and for the first time in many many years, I was paying attention to the lyrics in many of these wedding songs and finding them intriguing. Most mention the festivities, the coming together of two families, the bride’s and groom’s new journey in matrimony, and friends and families wishing the bride and groom longevity and blessings in their new marriage. All great and lovely.

    And then, there are lyrics (mostly in euphemism of course) COMPLETELY obsessed about how ‘Mushirit’ (bride) has kept the honor of her family by having kept her virginity, and how that was going to be proven in the honeymoon suite come wedding night. Of course no mention of whether the ‘Mushira’ (groom) was even required to be a virgin on his wedding night as his honor or that of his family was not tied to his virginity. The double standard is staggering.

    Of course in current days such expectations could be much less of city/urban folks. However, I imagine girls (and girls they are, not yet women) being married in rural areas are expected to be virgins on their wedding night (with their family’s honor at stake) though no one cares about the men.

    Tradition being nicely pounded into us for generations, all of us danced and chanted to such lyrics including the women. We hardly seem to notice the traditional power imbalance that exists between men and women, what values we are passing to our children, and where women stand in all this double standard.

    While decorating the reception hall prior to the wedding, few male Ethiopian friends and I were reminiscing how weddings used to be done back home. In the middle of this conversation, one friend whose opinions I otherwise respect went on to say… “In the good old days, the best man of the groom even had the privilege and responsibilities of helping the groom deflower the bride if the groom could not do it himself!” Then the rest of the men in the group laughed together lamenting how current day (read modern) urban groom’s men are deprived of such privilege. Can you believe this shit?

    I imagine in rural areas, such practices might still be well and alive!!!! I know they were joking around, but me being a woman and terribly sensitive about women’s rights, I was utterly offended about their innuendo, and told them as such. At a later time, one friend thought I was totally over reacting to what was said, and I still beg to differ! There are so many things we do and say unconsciously without even thinking what the implications are.

    In the scenario they described, what I imagined was the worst case scenario (I do that sometimes). I imagined a traditional wedding somewhere in rural Ethiopia where A VERY YOUNG GIRL (anywhere from 9-12 years of age probably) is being married to some older man (I imagine 18 and up) quite possibly without her consent. She is a child after all. She is most likely sexually ignorant, and may fear her wedding night as though she is being dragged to a slaughter house. Then come wedding night, if her new husband, for one reason or another could not do ‘the job’, then he might call upon his best man (who I imagine might be sexually experienced or something maybe on account of already being married) to help him deflower her!!!

    Now, sorry for being graphic and maybe totally over dramatic about such issues, but as far as I am concerned, even the husband having his way with the very young (and non consenting on account of being a child herself) bride might be considered rape let alone this strange man (in the form of the groom’s best man or ‘mizze’) who is coming to help the groom by attempting to have sex with her!!!!!!!!!!!! Geez whiz!!

    So my fellow city/urban/modern male Ethiopian friends…. When ever you joke about such things and think it is just for laughs, please think of that hypothetical very young Ethiopian bride (there is more of her than city women after all), and be sensitive! Rural Ethiopians are a majority of Ethiopian population, so what ever we urban people do and think does not even fairly represent Ethiopian population accurately. Besides, this hypothetical young bride, could be your sister, your daughter, your aunt, your cousin, or even your mother! Try to laugh now when you personify her to a close woman in your life. That is all I am saying.

    This is a LONG about way of saying we still have very long ways to go towards favorable male female relations in our STILL conservative culture. In worst case scenarios, women might go their whole lives without knowing what it means to be genuinely loved by a man. They might think love from their men is when they don’t get beaten on a regular a basis like their neighbor.

    Even that one a Kenyan friend reminded me can be misconstrued. She told me some women where she grew up in rural Kenya did not feel loved by their traditional husbands if they did not beat them once in a while because they associated being beaten with being loved and the husbands feeling jealous over them (not being beaten associated with the husbands not giving a shit about their wives new or old). How fucked up is that?!

    The pressure put on women to get married early or else face judgment makes them terribly desperate and MAJORLY SETTLE for such warped ideas of love, and less than quality men in their lives. There are men (hopefully many) who do not fit to this stereotype of a traditional man more concerned about dominating (and thank the heavens for that!!!) who are capable of genuinely loving a woman while respecting her rights and making her feel wanted. Education definitely has helped in raising people’s awareness about equal treatment of women, but we still have a long way to go.

    For women lucky enough to have been given more opportunities towards determining our own destinies, we have to do a better job of being kind to ourselves and learning to choose men who will bring us as much joy as we will bring into theirs. After all, we do teach people how to treat us, and if we are willing to take crap from people (men OR women) without protesting or respecting ourselves, crap we shall receive.

    So I wish your friend to find joy in her life, and a wonderful companionship and great friendship with a man of her choice who is deserving of her, her love, and all her great qualities including beauty as much as she will be deserving of his great qualities. My heart gets broken for women who cry over men who did not care much about them in the first place. So I hope her religious holiday helps in ‘calming her’ as she wished, and she will come back with a renewed spirit and not allow herself to be mistreated. I wish for her to find a great love that will make her happy as much as she will make him happy :-).


  • 7. abesheet  |  October 28, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Wow! Mazzi. That was an awesome read (the internet has been down for the last three days, that’s why i could neither comment nor blog). Well, Ethiopians would be Ethiopians wherever they go. I can’t decide if that’s good or bad.

  • 8. Mazzi  |  October 28, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    “Ethiopians would be Ethiopians wherever they go.”


  • 9. Kermo Tija  |  October 31, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Occasional when my friends and I (all men) talk about women and the kind of men that women are attracted to. It seems they are driven more by perception than reality. The flashier the better. It is all about showmanship than character. I am not saying all are like that but that seems to be the tendency.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

Life quote:

"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

Recent Posts

Previous Posts

Books by Ethiopian Writers


Favorite books

My Favorite Podcasts

ሙዚቃ [Ethiopian Music]

Some classic Some modernish And some Yirdaw... When I need a ringtone When I feel nostalgic When I need poetry

Free & Abridged Audiobooks


October 2008

Funny and brilliant tweets

Member of The Internet Defense League

%d bloggers like this: