Published: March 8th 2010March 8th 2010
Helina and I
Approx 9000 women participated in this year's run
Late Friday night, after spending the afternoon literally scrubbing our house down, the roomies and I got cleaned up and went to meet up with the Ethiopian boys, Ale and Chachi, and two other German friends, Florian and Fredrik, at Harlem Jazz. While I did spot a number of forenjis within “my network” who had similarly caught wind of the tip that there was a fonreji-led reggae band scheduled to play that night, Harlem is not typically a forenji-dominated hang-out. We grabbed a big booth in a dimly lit corner and chatted while enjoying some fairly spectacular music.
On Saturday March 6, 2010, I participated in the Women First 5km run through the heart of Addis along with my housemates, coworker, her four friends, and approximately 8992 other women! The event takes place every year to raise funds and awareness for the right of women to have a choice with respects to birth control and family planning. To call it a “run” is a bit inaccurate; while certainly some did run, namely the pros, most of the women walked, danced, screamed, cheered, and raised their hands (“Kuff! Kuff! Kuff!”) all along the route! There were live bands stationed at 1km
intervals around the course and at the end, as volunteers distributed small plastic sacks of water which were used more for water-fights than rehydration, Haile Gebrselassie presented awards to winners and fundraisers.
If the event was intended primarily to unite and empower women from all ages, nationalities, and walks of life - it was a big success!
After enjoying a refreshing ice cream and cheesy pizza, I watched a bit of “Rocky I” with a friend back at my place, showered, and then headed out to go track down the Sky Bus office. My Lonely Planet misled me for the first time on this cloudy afternoon. I went from one building to the next on Bole trying to track down a building that it turns out did not actually exist. When I finally DID come across the office, only to discover that the location had been changed to the Taitu Hotel in Piazza, I was on the top floor of the Friendship Center in a hallway of closed doors occupied only by an elderly guard. In response to my question: “Sky Bus yet new?” he typed in the agency’s phone number into my mobile. Helpful? Yes. Worth blocking
World record holder for shortest time for completion of a marathon
off the stairs until I paid him 2Birr? No. By the time I had struggled my way through the phone conversation, it was too late to make the 30min minibus ride to Piazza; I walked home in the rain and resisted the urge to respond while man in wheelchair followed me a good 2 blocks through my neighbourhood shouting “white girl! China!” at my back. Needless to say, I was darn frustrated after ALL of that.
But there is nothing like a “shoot-‘em-up” flick to cool the simmering fit that was fast-approaching boiling pointing my little ginger head! The girls and I went for a bite and then to see “From Paris with Love” at the theatre, avoiding the lack of electricity at home. By the time we came home, the electricity was back on and, as a result of the roach spray we had coated the kitchen in earlier in the evening, a hefty pile of dead roaches had formed on the floor. Yummy!
Sunday morning we went to Piazza to do some shopping and get my tickets for Gondar booked. In the evening the girls got a good start on cleaning the kitchen while I skyped
Taking on the Roaches!
They live where we live!
home from an internet lab down the road. After a quick costume change, Justine and I headed to Bailamos, a club that turns into a pro salsa on Sunday nights. The dancers were all phenomenal doing a blend of salsa and African rhythm. I spent most of the night feeling like I was living my own version of “Dirty Dancing” and I was Baby, sitting awestruck in the corner until my own Ethiopian Patrick Swayze (though not nearly as charming and wonderful haha) pulled me up and taught me how to move my hips. We joined in a group dance that was more-or-less a sexy version of a line dance I learned at my sister’s bachelorette party last summer.
Then we all did the Makerena.
Keshte - handsome (slang)
Fetan - fast
Abro - together
Yakerta - sorry
It’s always really interesting when I list some of the Amharic I’ve learned over the course of the previous week and reflect on the context in which I learned them. Haha
‘Til next time!
There are more photos below