TimQet beEgna sefer

January 20, 2009 at 9:18 am 4 comments


Once upon a time, not long ago, our “sefer”, too, had a TimQet Meda of it’s own. This “meda” (field) served for either horse-riding practice for the wannabee-horsemen and women of “BalDerass”; or a hiding place, or so we were forewarned, for the local snakes and vipers. But that’s not the only reason why I associated dark premonitions with the place, even when it’s filled with the song and dance of TimQet day (song, dance and “Sambusa”, a “durye-MiGib” we weren’t allowed to have any other day of the year).

I went to “Yeka Misrak Chora”, or “Bitweded” as we called it back then, for my junior high education. A tiny public school made up of Addis-Born Kotebe graduates who refused to go to the country-side to teach, holding upto 135 students a classroom, “Bitweded” was located next to this grassy field. When I was grade 7, a woman later discovered to have been a servant girl, was found dead in it’s midst. I haven’t seen the dead girl personally. “Abba Dina”, who I fancied was a broad-shouldered old man with grave eyes, has “taken her” when me and my younger brother Menelik (who always missed out on the fun side of school-life because we lived near and ate lunch @ home) arrived. But what I’ve been told: of the way she lie, the screaming old women who put “netela” on her half naked body, the possibility of her having been strangled by the Lord of the house with whom she may have had an illicit affair, etcetera, have haunted my dreams for days and been the cause of many unimpressive short stories with “Geredwan maan Gedelat?” for a theme. [A riddle “Abba Dina” has yet to resolve, I believe.]

This “meda” hosts blocks after blocks of condominium apartments nowadays. So any man, woman, or “Tabot” interested in being part of the TimQet celebration would have to go all the way to Jan Meda. And many have. By taking a mini-van, a lada or being part of the procession that followed Qebena Kidanemihret’s Tablet (which I sadly observed has become “KerTaTawaa Kidanemihret” for a day, due to the ring-road construction taking place there making the road muddy and impossible to walk on for a group of more than three).

The undersigned was not part of that procession. Preferring to miss out on the colorful celebration than go and risk having her limbs fly hither and thither, she’s refrained from joining the faithful. (As if being a coward wasn’t enough, this TimQet has reminded me I was what “Yes Man”, Jim Carrey’s latest movie, would label a “No”-woman: one of those gutless creatures who trade what’s “out there” for the less complicated “in here”! Devising an excuse, as an unhappy fox once did, to make the pain less .. well .. painful. “The grapes were sour anyway” or “It’s not like i haven’t seen it all”! When I tell you how even the thought of this year’s TimQet likely being my last TimQet in Ethiopia for years to come failed to outweigh my fear of a terrorist bomb, you’d understand just how strong my desire to remain in one piece is). Which is why the following videos are not of a circle of teenagers’ dancing to the sound of a harmonica playing. Or of our proud brothers from the West jumping above the “dulla” they carried, creating an “abwaara” like there is no tomorrow. Or even of a shy country-beauty being dragged into the middle by a “Dimmtse merewa” awraj she may or may not have had her eyes on. [“Lomi” costing 50 cents a piece, eyes seem to be the only thing men and women could afford to throw @ eachother nowadays.]

Nay! These may remind you of those. But are of a less exciting nature. They are religious videos: with tabot procession and a part secular/part religious group song I’ve heard in the past but am still unable to figure out the meaning of. I’m posting them here as an “ejj mensha” for my unnotified absence of five days [studying for my Prose & Style Exam on Thursday & Friday; having a weekend break on Saturday & Sunday; celebrating TimQet on Monday]. And in the hope they’d give you the “HaGer Bet” flavor I know you won’t be able to resist 😉 . Enjoy!


For TimQet/2009 photos from JanMeda, go to Arefe’s Random pictures from Timket. Or take a look at these collections on google.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. chuni  |  January 22, 2009 at 3:46 am

    omg, we went to the same school. I went to biteweded for 6th and 7th grade. My mother used to take us to baldaras for “feres gilbiya” because we said “ashaferegn” (as she would put it) to ground tennis for summer. I went back to baldaras in 07 only to find out blocks and blocks of apartments. The sad thing was, I went to addis that day for the sole purpose of ridding horses. I was so disappointed. It felt like I was robed a memory neger….may be i’m too sentimental..hehe

  • 2. abesheet  |  January 22, 2009 at 5:51 am

    This calls for celebration, chuni. Never met anybody from Bitweded, neither offline nor online 🙂 .

    So you, too, are a “giRff” of Hailegebriel Endashaw, Estifanos (Babi), Tamrat, Abebe (Maths), Tesfa (Geography), Jebessa… and all those irreplaceable idealist young Bitweded teachers? Or are you from the younger generation? They are my hereos, you know. My all-time hereos. Even Abebe (Maths) used to come to class with a book which he read us once a week. Tamrat took time off teaching about metabolism and had us play some mind game every now and then. Hailegebriel not only read us British council fairy-tales but beat us to crap every time we got a our spelling oral exam wrong. How i love those guys. May they live to be a thousand years and propser!

    Hmm.. I was actually hoping to do a post about them a few months back (entitled: “How the mighty fall”. How my mighty-teachers fall after: I saw Tamrat “metalating” with a bus-ticket Qorach over ‘werefa alemakberr’; Abebe telling me he knew my mother who was a lot older than him – and she musing What, he said that?!; Estifanos’ graying hair and lack of courage to leave the school and Haile coming for a P.R. interview in my old job, and falling!) some day, but kept running out of ideas. I heard Tessema Bilat died a while back. My reaction was “Poor little nasty man, I hope Abeba took it well”. There was a rumor of them being lovers in the days. TiQurwa…. Beletu, mean little Beletu.. i always remember her fondly for every time i think of her i think of the colorfol pen-pal letters she used to distribute every morning. Those were my window to the outside world.

    P.S. Did i tell you Chuni is my yebet Sim?

  • 3. Mazzi  |  January 22, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Oh thank you so much for bringing back fond memories of TimQet past though I can’t imagine what it feels now a days to fear for one’s physical safety in such big crowds against explosives and such!!

    In the good old days, it was bad enough to worry about the occasional lebbas in TimQet processions, yemilakefu sefer duruyewoch, and some men taking advantage of the crowd to invade women’s personal space to satisfy their lusts!

    All in all though, TimQet brings wonderful memories of Bolle Medhanialem Church Tabot that my Mom and were more than happy to follow in procession on TimQet Qen those many years ago.

    Just know you are going to miss such religious and cultural events once you cross the oceans to this side, so if I were you, I would try to soak up as many of these things as possible for the days you sure would come to miss them :-).

    But thank you for sharing such memories with those of us on this side who are nostalgic about holidays back home.

  • 4. Mazzi  |  January 22, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Ooops…. meant to say ….

    “All in all though, TimQet brings wonderful memories of Bolle Medhanialem Church Tabot that my MOM AND I were more than happy to follow in procession on TimQet Qen those many years ago.”


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