Thursday, November 4, 2010

A not-so-depressing Ethiopian story.

I sort of realized tonight that all of my stories have been so sad. I want to stress that not all of Ethiopia is this heart breaking place where people are dying every time you turn around. Not at all.

It is wonderful. It is beautiful. It's so, so, SO similar to Montana (give or take a few degrees closer to the Equator...). I love it there.

And not all of my experiences have made me want to just sit down and cry my eyes out because my heart is breaking for these children. I have had some amazingly, wonderful, hilarious moments with those kids.

And tonight, I remembered one and I felt like I should share it. Because it's hilarious. And it's not a tear jerker.

One afternoon, like most of my afternoons, I was sitting in the dirt with the kids. A lot of the work we did was construction and I can only handle so much of that before I am just standing around, useless. So I gave up about half way through each day. Anyway, one day I sat down with Kababosh and Roza and some other, older girls and we had a big long conversation. They were telling me all about school and their friends and all their favorites. You know, colors, animals, foods, etc etc etc. The things we can actually talk to each other about and understand.

Kababosh started telling me to not cut my hair. They had just looked at wedding pictures of me and fallen in love with my long hair. She kept saying, "Your hair? No cut. You go America, no cut." I kept saying, "This hair *points to head* real. This hair *points to pictures* fake. I no cut. I want long hair."

Um yes. Apparently, when the people you are conversing with the most speak minimal English, you forget how to talk. So I began to speak in fragmented sentences. It's great.

Anyway. Kababosh and Roza started playing with my hair. Kababosh was wrapping it in a gigantic bun on the top of my head while Roza was rubbing her hands over and over and over on one single spot. So I had this horrendous bun and this really smooth, shiny patch. It was great.

But they sat there the whole time and said, "Conjo! Conjo! You are sooooo beautiful!" (Conjo means beautiful in Amharic) and I loved it. Because no, I wasn't very beautiful in that moment with my hair all pulled back and not brushed. Here, let me show you a picture. conjo.

Anyway, we were having a blasty blast just having girl time when Kababosh decided she needed to say, and I quote, "You go America, you have Ferengi baby. You Ethiopia come. Evan Ethiopia come. Ferengi baby Ethiopia come." (Ferengi is what they call white people. Habasha is what they call themselves.)

I about lost it. This little 11 year old girl was telling me that Evan and I needed to have a baby. And then bring it back to show her.

About 10 minutes later when I stopped laughing long enough to speak, I told her that she was my Habasha baby and that I didn't need a Ferengi baby. She said no.

This was definitely one of my top ten moments of the week. As if I don't have baby fever enough at home with all the great mommy blogs and cute, adorable babies and pregnant moms floating around me, I go to the other side of the world and get it there, too.

Oh well. It makes for a good laugh. =]

One day, I pinned my hair back, kinda, and I burned my head reaaaal bad. That's why my bangs are out of control in that last picture and I practically have a mullet. That, and the wind was blowing 100 miles per hour. Rough.


2 loves:

  1. I was going to comment on one of your Ethiopia stories & ask if you spoke their native language...but I guess I know now. Do the kids learn English at the school?

  2. I only speak a little. And by a little I mean I can say words. No sentences. Besides "how are you?" haha It's a symbol language so it's really hard to understand and they roll their "r's" like Spanish so I cannot understand them and make them repeat everything like 50 times before I finally get it. But I can speak it a little. Enough to barely get around. haha

    And they learn basic English. But they can't converse or put sentences together. They have two Americans living there teaching them now and the teachers know a little but not enough to teach them conversational English. So we use a lot of sign language to communicate.