Monday, February 7, 2011

Ethiopia: Nazret: Introduction and a Brush with Fame

English Alive Academy

Stephanie took me to both of the school campuses in the morning. A few blocks from Azeb's house in the "KG campus". This holds two nursery classes, two 1st level kindergarten classes, and one 2nd-level kindergarten class. There is a shaded playground, latrines, a library, an office, and a teachers' resource room.

About 1/2 mile away is the "grade campus", which houses grades 1st through 4th classrooms, a shaded eating area, latrines, an office, a library, and a teachers' resource room. Just before morning break, the cleaning staff water down the play area, otherwise, the kids would simply churn dust during recess.

En route to the KG campus, I checked the status of the almost-dead white horse. Now, it really was dead, with a bit of haunch gone and its intestines spilled out onto the ground, and its mouth pulled back from its teeth. Three brown dogs, pretty things, slept close by. Looked like a mother and two adolescent offspring. I liked that these dogs were there; almost a form of respect for the horse's value.

Back to the schools - the students are charming, polite, affectionate, engaged. How many hands did I shake? How many times did I say "good morning"? Countless, especially as quite a few children came back for seconds and thirds.

Around noon, Stephanie and I returned to Azeb's, where she served us a delicious lunch. I took a short nap, then checked out an internet cafe. Stephanie returned home to Addis.

In the evening, I pulled out my mp3 player and speaker to charge them. For fun, I put on an Ethiopian song by Mahmoud Ahmed, selected at random, for Azeb to hear.

I hadn't played more than about 10 seconds when Azeb said, "That's my brother".

And I had to pause mentally. I've heard "that's my brother" before in Ethiopia. This can mean: 1) the person is the speaker's brother; 2) this person is "like" a brother; or 3) total baloney.

Of course in this case, I quickly gathered my wits about me and said, "What?"

Azeb repeated, "That's my brother."

I: "You mean this singer is your brother?"

Azeb: "Yes"

I: "Really? Are you kidding?"

Damn. What are the odds here? I mean, how far do you have to go back in time to start the path that ends up at this astonishing intersection?

Later, I walked into the bathroom just in times to see a cockroach skittering toward me, the size of which I've only see in a museum with a pin in it. I screamed.

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