June 21-23, The Weekend – We Are Family

By Tiffany Abera

Where do I begin! I have been in Nazret for one week now.  The atmosphere is completely different than Addis. It’s a smaller town for one and the climate is drier and a lot warmer than Addis.  When it rains it doesn’t get muddy like Addis because there is so much sand out here.  I guess that would explain the camels.

So off I was in the minivan back to Addis. It was hot and I was sweating.  They packed the van to capacity and on top of that they kept trying to close the windows! I was not having any of that. I arrived in Kaliti safe but hot, sweaty, dusty and hungry.  The bus station was crowded and people were yelling the names and places that they were departing to. It was an organizational mess! It was confusing and bewildering to see the crowds of young men running wildly, screaming and grabbing potential riders by the arm dragging them to their van first. Back at home that would never work but I have to remind myself that this is not Atlanta, Ga. This is Ethiopia and the rules are very different here.

This weekend I was able to meet the majority of my husband’s family for the first time. It was a moment that I will never forget.  There was so much food and laughter most likely at my hilariously foreign ways and I at theirs. I took pictures and shared stories.  I couldn’t help but to notice the interactions between age groups.  They roasted coffee in the ceremonious fashion in a jebena which is a handcrafted clay pot.  Children were not permitted to eat while the adults were eating.  And the guest (me) was given food first and usually more of it. I definitely shouldn’t have eaten breakfast.

We left after stuffing ourselves to go to the aunt’s daughters house where they were celebrating a holiday.  In the Orthodox church the holiday is a celebration of the day when the Virgin Mary was told by the angels that she was pregnant with Jesus.  Every year the celebration moves to a different house and lucky for me I got to witness the festivities.  The head of the house (the daughter’s husband) blessed and broke the bread which the elder women then ate and shared with each other.  They then proceeded to do the same with the fermented beverage followed by another meal filled with meats, veggies and lots of injera.

At this point in the day I couldn’t eat anything else, but that wasn’t going to last long.  Mekonnen’s mom gave me goursha. Goursha is when a loved one feeds you.  It is rude to refuse and there is never just one goursha.  You can always expect there to be at least two or more servings of goursha.  I took pictures and made a big deal about it so naturally all of the aunts and uncles wanted to give me goursha too! I was beyond stuffed by the end of the celebration.

And it was my lucky day even more as I got to witness a Muslim wedding celebration outside in the courtyard of the apartments.  Weddings are done huge here! They were chanting and singing loudly to the beat of the drums. It was hypnotic.  As the limo drove away with the bride and groom the masses followed behind with horns blaring and everyone still singing.  My weekend was filled, no jam packed, with cultural experiences. I would dare say that you probably haven’t seen a goat running around with a trash can on his head at your apartment complex this weekend. Lol

I don’t want to brag, but I have some pretty cool in-laws. 🙂


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