22. Yetizita bilkatoch ………………………24 days to go

One fire down; two to go. Triad season is upon us a.k.a Buhe, Enqutatash and Meskel are here.  I could not help but take the picture of yesterday’s chibo

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 and the mulmul too.


Normally I take pictures when I am taken by something; hoping to capture my feelings for the moment on two dimensions.  But I have to admit that none of the pictures I have taken or the pictures taken of me thus far does a fair amount of justice to what was intended to be preserved.   Last weekend a friend and I were driving along the Chancho road and the scenery was magical. It had rained all morning and the sun was starting to shine. There was nothing but green to our left and right and we were driving though mist at some points.

I took some pictures but seeing them, I realized that they did not represent what they were meant to. What we agreed was that maybe it is better to enjoy the moment than try to freeze it. And that was what we did. So no pictures of that; instead here are candles. I would like to call this one expecting.

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The two candles are a wife and husband who are expecting a child. The open third spot is the crib of the child that is about to be born. Git it? No? I do not either!   

I think I do not like pictures. Of course I would stare if I was on one and if it was taken on a special occasion. But they often cater to my foolish self love doing nothing either to bring about nostalgia or to ease it.  I am not too fond of looking at other peoples’ photos. And pictures of nature and stuff are futile and maybe criminal attempts at seizing the unseizable.  There is no such thing as seizing the moment – let the moment seize you. 

Diaries of a lousy shot! 

I should tell you that in our living room, there is a picture of my graduation with me donning a gown, cap and a weird kind of smile. I think it is better than those photos on which the guy/girl tries to look serious. Neither the picture in questions nor the other smaller ones taken on that day were able to send me back down memory lane the way a certain smell did. I opened a cupboard that had the smell of the suit I was wearing then; and bam!  It was like I was there again.  

In a few months, instead of the pictures of chibo and mulmul, the mere smell of them will go a long way to remind me of the holiday. When it comes to arousing memory, I got to hand it to smell. And sound comes second followed by sight. Remember the things that flock through your mind when you hear a song that you heard with someone or when you were somewhere? Pictures on the other hand, do not do it for me. 

I read on the sense of smell and found that there is scientific evidence to back me up on my claim.  An excerpt: 

 An important quality of the olfactory system is that information travels both to the limbic system and cortex. The limbic system is the primitive part of the brain that includes areas that control emotions, memory and behavior. In comparison the cortex is the outer part of the brain that has to do with conscious thought. In addition to these two areas, information also travels to the taste sensory cortex to create the sense of flavor. Because olfactory information goes to both the primitive and complex part of the brain it effects our actions in more ways than we think.  

Many wonder how certain smells are able to trigger memories of events taking place several years ago despite the fact that sensory neurons in the epithelium survive for about only 60 days. The answer is that the neurons in the epithelium actually have successors. As the olfactory neurons die, new olfactory neurons generated by the layer of stem cells beneath them, which eventually takes the role of the old neuron as it dies……………… 

Read the whole of the short article here. 

While on the subject, I also found this painting. Ay enat! And that is an unusually muscular ass for a child I must say.


few lot of points before I go: 

* Mulmul is my favorite type of dabo followed by the good old fashioned difo dabo.  The furno one is not my choice. I was about to say I do not like furno but I remembered my mom teaching me not to say “X aliwedim ’’-X`stands for any type of food. And Betty, I am not talking about the kind of furno you have in mind. 

* I saw on National Geographic Channel that stem cells (especially cord blood and adult ones) are being used to treat patients in South Eastern Asia countries.  People from western countries go there because where they are from, clinical trials are lagging behind for various reasons.  China is hoping to use regenerative medicine as a pillar to her future economy. The program was objective: they showed patients who showed improvements after treatment and those who did not.  

 * There is a program on CNN which goes by the name world’s untold stories.  I catch it whenever I get the chance to. This week was about mining of tin ore in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sometimes you have to wonder why African countries put words like democratic in their official names; “ melke tifu besim yidegfu’’?!  Anyway, tin ore is replacing lead in the manufacturing of circuit boards. The miners work in sub-human conditions and what is worse they are not even paid! They have to steal from what they have mined in order to pay for basic necessities. The mine has no administration except for the soldiers who take the whole of the ore and sell it to middle men. To get to the landing strip from where it is taken to the middle men, the ore is carried by porters for tens of miles across the jungle. The porters eat once a day, carry kilos on their back and battle with cholera and other diseases. 

I had previously heard that a mineral called coltan (columbite-tantalite) also used in electric circuits of electronics was heavily involved in the war in the DRC.  Apparently  they have other riches /curses.

* Word is Beyoncé will not be coming after all.   Getting to my “the grapes were  sour” stories, I think Shakira would be a much better choice. And 50 cent’s new album is dropping on September eleven. I do not think he will be spending that day here.  Kanye is releasing his album on the same date. There is a debate going on on who is going to outsell who. I wish a third artist could come and whoop their asses.

 My choices for top Ethiopian albums for the year 1999 are ……drum roll…….  

1. Wuleta ………………Abinet Agonafer   

2. Shemametew……………….Mikaya Behailu

 I was going to put Satamehagn bila ………..Gossaye Tesfaye at the third position.  He has got some good songs in there. But I do not think I can bear  listening  to the entire album.

 * There is a disorder known as synesthesia.  What it does is mix up your senses. For example you may be able to taste names. This one guy was being asked about how the name Einstein tasted like. His answer, yoghurty wafers!                                                       

 What I have been writing about all post long may be human nature and may be there’s nothing new to it. What’s new is what I am about to propose next. 

Memories are not meant to be stored in photographic/ video films or audio tapes. Rather, they are best kept in hitherto unused contraptions. How about if we can literally bottle our feelings, memories and what not? What if we were able to get a dose whenever we smell the preserved smell of that particular situation?  

Smell ya later 



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tibebe
    Aug 27, 2007 @ 11:31:07

    how can i forget ?!


  2. betty
    Aug 26, 2007 @ 12:33:25

    I have to hand it to you, you are so good in reading my mind, I laughed my heart out.

    And tell me this, ” what are you trying to do”? ” afe mirak mola” when you speak of Mulmul Dabo,,,,, there was this one particular “mulmule dabo” that ” yebelete enat” brought for us every ” buhe”…. I miss that

    I remeber that picture in your living room, I saw it on robbie’s graduation. I donot remeber the weired smile, all I remeber is, it was cute.

    I believe pictures help us remeber what it was like at the moment it is taken, what we felt, and some more, because those situations, those feelings, may not happen at all next time. our brain probably keeps all what we saw, but getting it out may be hard, so pictures help in getting that out.

    There is this peom I really like, I will post it my next blog, when? I donot know, may be after three months like my ….. you remeber tibe? good if you do, cannot say no more if you donot.


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