stone soup. yedingay shorba

Below is the ferenj version of the story of the stone soup:

The etyopian version, well it is not so much a story as an aphorism —tagash yedingay shorba yiTeTal. This expression was made famous–at least in our circle–by Sami. The circle in question–or what’s left of it–comes together every several years.  In one such recent occasion, the story of the soup got the chance to be brought up again.

The four of us (two of the chicks, Sami and I) are kicking it with Mona’s mom and dad. Even under normal conditions, when you have brought Sami along, there would be no shortage of topics of conversations. But when Sami decides to bring along his outrageous dreads (Lord forgive that boy!), well then you know it is going to be topic bonanza. This song, Ganja Bonanza, is ringing in my head; but that does not mean Sami smokes weed. He’s just confused; or maybe he has got a lot of useful thoughts and he is trying to reach out to the world with his hair; share with us multidimensional pieces of his mind; or  he may recently have picked up the bible and stumbled uponThe Book of Judges; or maybe he’s just plain confused.

Dad is amazed by Sami’s dexterity with the Amharic language that he asks what his major in college was. Of course, all four of us are thallophyters (that is biologists for the uninitiated.) It’s testimony time from his friends and I jump in. I quote him on, what I believe is, one of his finest  utterances viz. the stone soup and patience. Mom and dad join us in our chorus of plaudits for the saying and the one who said it.  I credit the stone soup with being the one thing that keeps me going when I get frustrated by my haplessness (and helplessness) on matters pertaining to the fairer sex.

Sami goes on to heap insult to injury. He likens my excruciating vigil at the gates of love to that of a cat which waits on end for a mouse to come out of its burrow.

But it is all good. Once we have said farewell to our wonderful hosts, we were out on the streets, laughing it out, referring to potential targets as mice.

Unrelated; or a bit related…

When I came to Bahir Dar, I had told myself and others that it was going to be for three years.  After that, the plan was to pursue (it sounds as if I am chasing a paper and it is running for dear life) further education, or having failed to do that, relocate to a different part of the country. There was also that subliminal mission to be accomplished in those three years –I was to sow my oats. I’ve had it all figured out. From what I had heard, all I needed to bring was a copulatory organ and the girls in Bahir Dar were going to do the rest –initiation, follow through, the whole enchilada. A magazine with “Gonder and Bahir Dar: Bewesib YekeleTu Ketemoch” for a front cover teaser springs to mind. That was to be my life.

I hate it when Gonder is written as Gondar. It gives the impression that Bahir Dar and Gon Dar are twin cities or something.

Now it has been well nigh three years. And since the only oats I have been dealing with thus far is the one that I eat for breakfast, I believe it is high time for change. Kind of bide my destiny at a different location. I should move on before my attachment with Ba Da grows and makes it harder for me to leave.

And the nominees are (drum rolls)

With shared pros of newness and dusty roads and salty water for respective cons, ladies and gentlemen, damas y caballeros, I give you Jimma and Mekelle. Give it up for them.

There is also that lurking wish shared with almost every other member of the Etyopian intelligentsia (if I may dare call myself that) of going abroad and pursuing…

Why am I telling you all this? I am doing it for myself. I am using it as a public reminder for myself that I have got to make a change in my life in many respects; that I must beat my fear of the unknown which has started to creep up on me now that the deadline is looming; something that goes “but you told everybody that you were going to…” when I start to get cold feet (like I know I will).  I need to be prepared for and do what each of my possible alternate situation may require of me. And I am a Gemini and we are supposed to multitask.

This past three days have been disappointing in that I’ve been struggling to get into the rhythm of getting even the smallest of things done. (“The grand scheme of things thrives on the smaller stuff” Somebody. Somewhere.)

So get cracking!



100. You know we had to do a remix

Damn!  It’s Hidar already ?!

Not that I was planning on doing anything.

Hidar,  especially is tricky because you see, once you have finished it, you would be through one fourth of the year and one third of the year would be gone by the end of Tahisas, just like that!

My brother says that the rate at which the year is burning itself out is an indicative of the advent of the end of days: bezian gize kenochu  kegobez rucha yefetenu yihonalu

Well! Normally, it would have been me who’s heralding the apocalypse. But no; in this case I think the days are being shortened by BPR and they are gravitating towards that fateful of days – the mircha.  I mean, how could I help feeling that it would be fateful when every piece in the media is begins  like “aratu” ?

aratu aratu aratu

Like they were the fantastic four or something! Meles = human torch, Hailu = thing, Lidetu = Mr. Fantastic (based only on his “flexibility”) and Ayele = invisible woman.  I think the trend nowadays is from comic books to the big screen and then to life in some God forsaken country whose people  refuses to believe that it indeed is God forsaken.

I say fuck the mircha and all those involved.

With that short but fairly expressive declaration of my deep-seated distaste for my country’s political process and the processors, let me snatch the trumpet back from my brother and do what I usually do.

So they say that when it is almost time for the world to go up in flames, the ratio of women to men would be something like 10 to 1.  This time in Addis Abeba, I had the pleasure and pain of seeing throngs of girls in skinny jeans that I felt I have seen every single one of them. And I wondered whose they were, because they sure as hell are not mine. So where the hell are my 10 ladies?

The work that took me to Addis Abeba was a disappointment in the order of a fart that builds up gloriously only to implode. I cannot even compare it to that because I was not keen on going anyway. Maybe it could be likened to a two weeks’ bloating. I puked thrice on the way there and took in the horror of the water that feels your mouth – thereby signifying the inevitability – just before you let fly. Sacrificed 10 million neurons for every day I was there and the only thing that appealed to me at the end of each day was sleeping with my head buried in the pillow.

Man I hate committees! Don’t get me wrong – I hate myself too.

On the bright side, I discovered that yogurt tasted real nice with coke, took up eating raw shimbra and what else… nothing. In short, I am living like a menekuse who has not lost his zest  for experimenting. And I am suffering from intermittent headaches which just might be withdrawal symptoms of the anti -emetics (don’t you just love the name?!) which I have been taking for the duration of the mission, and without doctor’s orders. It is just that we used to spend a considerable time travelling in the same car in which I carried out my emetic heroics and I was afraid that I was going to repeat them.

Enough grossing you out.  I have been trying to choose a name for our hood in Addis Abeba and I think la luz fits the bill since the street lights are too close together. The name does not necessarily have to relate to a conflict zone now, does it?

I was amazed and at the same time entertained to read in a magazine article that Bahir Dar is one of the ten cities in the world best suited for living. The writer might have been referring to this:

“…UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura will present the UNESCO Cities for Peace prizes for 2000-2001 on March 18 in Marrakesh (Morocco) to Bukhara (Uzbekistan), Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt), Cotacachi (Ecuador), Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Vilnius (Lithuania). Five other cities, one from each region of the world, will receive an honourable mention…

Bahir Dar in Ethiopia receives an honourable mention for its efforts to provide its citizens with a healthier and more pleasant city by tackling issues such as the lack of housing and the stagnation of the economy.”

I guess it is the same thing ha.

One thing that cannot be denied though, Ba Da has definitely got its groove back after the streetlights went back on.


I read this somewhere: ” lezare Mashallah lenege Inshallah”

A question: why do you think God created the devil ?

Please read this

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