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!


Pusillanimity and looking for a place in the world

This week is turning out to be great fun. It started with a kickass case of food poisoning which showed me a minimum of love. Besides witnessing, once again, the miracles of ciprofloxacin, what I learned from the recent bout goes a little something like this…

Many a night I would be chillin at my friend’s after dinner, watching TV. I see Tom (and in some cases Jerry) being unpleasantly awoken from a peaceful sleep; and I sympathize, no, empathize with them – hey, that’s exactly how I feel every morning! The awakening is usually followed by chases, shotguns and cannons, a lot of splat!!! and kaboom!!!

And every morning I go chasing the cause of my vexation, the sun, eastwards while it flees west, I get some earthbound work done and go home to run another day.

Boring digressions aside, it has been said that I feel like shit in the mornings. But what I realized amid the retching and trips to the toilette in the A.M. was that every morning which has not been preceded by retching and trips to the toilette in the A.M. is a blessing; so count your blessings.

And the sun is not such a bad thing after all.

They banned laptops from the internet room I used to frequent. If you knew the ramifications of this, you would have felt sorry for me and gotten angry, the way I did when I read their nonsensical notice. But you don’t have an iota of an idea so I don’t blame you.


No! Not you! I mean the ban guys.

And this morning I learned that I should be looking for a new place. I am a subleasee. Now they are planning to move to their own place; and when they move, I move.

What a week! What’s next?! “Excuse us sir, we are here to repossess your dick. We have got court orders…”

“ 😎 Here you go, take it! Matter of fact I was just about to call you”

It sucks but I have to move. What sucks even more is that my landlord/lady had been real nice to me for the past twenty months. This means that anything could happen with the people at my next home. (And I am currently reading White Oleander – the girl in there keeps on moving from one foster home to another) If I had a rough time of it with the previous akerayoch, then a strong case could have been made of me deserving to find nice people who would compensate for the grievances. But now I feel like that I have had the good and now should move on to the bad.

Yet hope springs eternal; and I hope to find what every bachelor looks for in a house – nice people with a nice OUTGOING 🙂 daughter.

I hope I won’t get separated from my distant relatives.

And, finally! My condition has got a name! And you know that knowing the name of one’s condition is 49% the way to curing it.

I don’t care what dictionaries have got to say about the etymology of the word, but for me, pusillanimity is the pussy phobia. And I shall overcome!!! Truth be told I am overcoming right now; case in point this girl whom I tried to nod in a way of greeting to, encouraged by the fact that it was the third day in a row that I had run into her. Gin min yadergal my hesitant nod did not make it to the whole 90 degrees and she was gone by 13 degrees. Next time I see her, I would be sure to tell her: “Girl you have got 77 degrees of hello left from last time.’’

What a douche!


I know my post reeked of GRE chickela; thank you for bearing with me – if you have born with me, that is.

And the visit by Sami (looking like Fido Dido) and another friend is the highlight of the week thus far. It is not all doom and gloom.

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