Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ethiopian Culture

One thing that made us very excited to have two trips to Ethiopia was the opportunity to really soak in their culture. We thoroughly enjoyed learning as much as we could leading up to the trip and then while we were there. It was really helpful that we had already learned a lot through books, documentaries, and an Ethiopian family we're friends with. A few words I would use to describe Ethiopia: strong, happy, friendly, content, hard working, and beautiful. In some ways I was surprised how much it reminded me of Mexico and Peru, but in other ways it was unlike anything I've ever experienced before. The poverty is unimaginable...there's just no words for it. Ethiopia is forever a part of our family now and we love that. Here are some random pictures that capture some of their culture.

 This is a traditional coffee ceremony. They serve coffee there like they do water in the USA. The Ethiopians we were with kept laughing at us that we would actually buy and drink water. Coffee is served in small cups and you drink 3 rounds for the full ceremony. I had a total of 13 coffee ceremonies while I was there!!!
 This is called Kaldi's Coffee. It's pretty much Ethiopia's equivalent to Starbucks. We ate here several times and really enjoyed it. It truly is like Starbucks in every way except it's WAY cheaper.
 This is an awesome little coffee shop called To.Mo.Ca. We bought tons of coffee here to bring home and have been enjoying it since we've been home.
 A very common thing in Ethiopia is to have animals all through the streets/sidewalks. I'd say goat herds were the most common. We stopped our car several times to let animals pass by.
 Power outages were very common while we were there, almost daily. But, our wonderful guest house had candles set-up that we could light, wa-lah. We spent many evenings in candlelight which we thoroughly enjoyed.
 The Easter tradition is to buy a goat, slaughter it, and eat it for Easter dinner. We watched Easter weekend as the goat herds got smaller and smaller and many goats were hauled away on shoulders, pulled by a rope, or riding on top of trucks. Come Easter morning the streets were filled with piles and piles of goat skins, heads, hooves, and other lovely remains. You can see in the picture there's one of those piles. For some reason our camera went into sepia mode for this picture.
 Here's another traditional coffee ceremony we had at a ministry called Children's Heaven.
They serve popcorn with sugar on it and a barley/peanut mix along with the coffee ceremony. There's barely any sugar in their diet except for their coffee ceremony. The put lots of sugar in their coffee and of course the sugar on the popcorn.
 These are the cheapest form of transportation around the city, van taxis. They cram these little vans FULL of people...I mean the idea of personal space is non-existent when you ride these. We only rode them while we were with Ethiopians and it was a fun adventure. If we were on our own we would take taxis or hire a driver if it was a longer period of time.
 A Coke bottle in Amharic.
This would be a typical corner store you'd see. 
There are so many more pictures and stories we could share, but hopefully this just gives you a little taste of what Ethiopia's like. Or for those of you who have already been, it brings back some sweet memories of your time there:). 

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