While Cairo (the airport, at least) put me back in my comfort zone, the gate to fly to London had me bracing to enter a sci-fi set. Women in jean tights (I believe the people call them jeggings) and with clean, volumized hair poke jab at pocket-sized screens. Men do too but their appearances are less notable, except to say that they all look rich and impossibly clean.
I enjoyed my final week in Ethiopia from the comfort of the Yilma hotel. I didn’t have the birr to get around to all of the places (and by places I just mean restaurants) I’d like to try, but it worked out well. Bailey and G6 Rebecca were here for the first half of the week, and showed me Limetree as well as the Sole Rebels shop in Adams Pavilion, underneath my favorite Kaldi’s. Just as they left, Chris came up from Hawassa, and Mitch and Kyle were also in town, also ETing.
The Addis Ababa experience has one foot back in America. This is where Peace Corps Volunteers come to be consumers, and doesn’t it feel good, to look over a receipt with a stomach full of burger and fries and wonder how much you have left for that sweater you saw on the ride over. Of course, that ride was a minibus line taxi, and you were sitting in someone’s lap while someone else tried to steal your wallet, but both of these Addis characters are aware that America is not another name for Europe. In other words, they are educated, either in one of Addis’ private schools, or on one of Addis’ ferenji-busy streets.
The other half of Addis is pure Ethiopia. Despite being bustling with many foreigners here doing all sorts of work, the city still calls out to all oddities “White! Ferenj!” While this is standard across Ethiopia, it’s the attitude behind this that I will always tie to Ethiopia. This “you’re the 5th American and 20th white person I’ve seen today, but I’m going to yell for the street/for you to hear that you’re white” obsession. Taxi drivers assume that you want and can afford their ferenji-waga service and follow you along the curb, blocking you from catching cheaper public transportation and cursing at you when you refuse. Beggars circle you and try to pick your empty pockets, but as with so much else in Ethiopia they lack the creativity and innovation to be more successful than overworked.
But back to the nice side of Addis Ababa. The ferenji-retreats where you can pay 3rd-world prices in the company of NGO workers, Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian. The places where PCVs feel too dirty and too poor to be allowed into if it weren’t for our passports.
Let’s begin with Limetree. You know it’s full of Europeans and Americans because the floor is nice, and not that white tile that all other places that think they are nice have. This floor was nice AND hid my muddy hiking boot footprints. The dining room joins a small branch of Bookworld. As I walked over to look at postcards, I passed two people, at separate tables, I had met sometime in the past year during my many USAID trainings. The twice-weekly Mongolian grill had broccoli. My 100 birr disappeared but – broccoli.
Chigger yellum, Peace Corps gave me some extra money to cover Addis’ higher living expenses, except I spent most of that extra money on a pair of Sole Rebels. They’ve got a branch in Sarbet, PCVs get a 50birr discount, and the shoes are made in Addis from old tires – plus I don’t want to tour Ireland looking, well, like a PCV. Instead I happily handed over the equivalent of a Finote Selam month’s rent for some purple flats.
Chris is, I think, less impressed by many of my favorite Addis spots because he lives in Hawassa and can get things like vegetable sandwiches and strawberry juice already. With Mitch and Kyle joining us, he had no chance not eating at the Beer Garden (behind Edna Mall, tuna wrap 37 birr, 0.5L ebony draft 26 birr) or Roomi burger (vegetable burger 50 birr, peanut butter milkshake 35 birr). He would rather have gone to the Lebenese restaurant on Ethio-China Friendship Road (another thing about Addis – some of the streets are named!!) and tried their 230 birr buffet – an admirable intention, but not financially possible for the rest of us.
Finally Chris and I broke away from the burger-lovers and tried Enya’s Mediterranean Kitchen on Telebole near Edna Mall, behind MK’s pizza. For whatever reason, although I think the name of the reason is ignorance, this place is always written off as being “the expensive Greek place.” Clearly, I think this is stupid. The prices are about the same as Limetree’s but the food is authentic and beautiful. The Addis-average 100 birr you need to eat here is nothing, actually, compared to what you’d pay anywhere else in the world.
I’d pay 100 birr just to sit at a table that was set by someone who knows how to place knives, forks, wine glasses, and candles. I love Ethiopian food, but the Ethiopian table must be dedicated exclusively to the injera platter. The result is that all Ethiopian waiters, no matter the type of restaurant, can’t handle a table cluttered by things like water glasses or, heaven forbid, a notebook or a newspaper.
I felt too dirty to be inside Enya’s. This is a good thing, really, for Enya’s, and means that all other Westerners will love to be here. I loved being there too, but was embarrassed by the state of my rain jacket.
If you can’t handle nice restaurants and don’t know how to properly use a knife and fork, there are other Greek places in town where you can get your gyro to-go. Please, enjoy it; we can meet up later at Kaldi’s, after I’m done upgrading my jackets.
Ah, Kaldi’s coffee, the real Starbucks knock-off. Starbacks is nice, but it’s still Ethiopian. The people running Kaldi’s have been to America and know things, like what is ice cream (12.50 birr a scoop) and how to make oatmeal without milk (17 birr). I have a few hours left in Ethiopia, and I think I’ll spend them there.
I had to pause to remember what month it is, writing this title. It’s cold and rainy – in my mind, February. The new time markers – the burning of the cross, yellow flowers, Easter, fasting seasons, fasting days, rain, heat – that have marked the last year don’t fit my mental timekeeping, so I’m dazed, placing myself in the timeframe of my life.
Where am I? In Addis, with four days left in Ethiopia. Comfortable in the Yilma, by the Peace Corps Office, soaking in TV, hot showers, and free internet – halfway out of Ethiopia already. Yesterday I had to take some minibuses around the city. The difference slapped me in the face and I found myself back in Ethiopia mode, which sadly looks like me stomping down crowded streets wishing each passing heckler a painful death.
Clearly, I need to dedicate a few more of my final birr to a beer, and relax with Mitch and Chris who have arrived to keep me company in Addis. They don’t know it yet, but we’re going to watch the Olympics opening ceremony from the beer garden in Bole. Mitch claims he has gift certificates to Boston Day Spa he’ll give me. Movies at Edna Mall are 80 birr and you can get a fruit smoothie. Such are the advantages of the rich Addis life.
Where am I? Days away from seeing some people I love but also about to be broke, unemployed, opening the same academic program websites that I bookmarked from Finote Selam. People keep telling me that they hope I know what I’m doing. I don’t.
I do know, though, that I want to keep blogging as I figure out what I have done, and so I redirect you to shinecloud.wordpress.com for this next chapter, Shine Cloud being the difficult name of Melese’s juice bet in Finote Selam.
If you work at the Finote Selam CTE, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been there at all, all month. Ever since Kenyatta left, actually, I’ve “disappeared.” I’ve been in Bahir Dar hanging out with Kelly, and visiting the dust-trap known as Bichena, and otherwise planning how I’m going to get out of Ethiopia.
Because if you’re a PCV in Ethiopia, you probably know that I’ve been disgruntled with my role in Ethiopia since PST. If you’re a PCV, you probably think about ETing at least every week, and I’m the one acting on this curiosity that I know we’re all having.
When I heard about people ET-ing (early terminating), I felt envious. Now that I am, I’m a little bit envious of the people who are staying. Turns out, once I’ve removed myself from my unhappy situation at the CTE, Ethiopia is not completely horrible.
Turns out, I do not want to teach ESL as a career. The CTE does not necessarily have to be so bad. It’s up to me to insist on doing – what? trainings, tutoring, or something. Things that I find myself dreading, even though once they’re over with I will say that I was glad I did it.
As with Peace Corps overall. I’m glad I got thrown into uncomfortable territory. Even the most miserable times, with men trying to impress their friends at my expense, with Fik’r wailing at 5 in the morning, with music blasting over the shoulder of a hotel clerk trying to triple the price because I’m not Ethiopian – when I imagine my life without these moments, it’s a duller and less satisfactory life.
I’m also glad for the time this year has given me to explore my interests and point me in the direction I want to go from here. While I’m not feeling the English teaching, it turns out I really care about water resources, and possibly economics. Perhaps the economics of. And Ethiopia is a great place to witness the reality behind the theory.
I complain a lot about Ethiopia, and when I start telling people how I do like it here, really, Kelly will remind me of all the times I’ve miserably listed how I in fact hate it. Now that I’m ending my time here, I can look back and say that yes, it sucks to be a female here, ferenji or not. Yes, I generally wish bad omens on the young men who have a talent for upsetting me. Yes, I think the people who put me in a box no matter how I protest and give evidence against it, the people who insist that my name is “ferenji” and nothing more – I think they are ignorant and doing harm to their country. Yes, I think Ethiopia is doing a lot of harm to itself.
But there’s much more that I now realize that I enjoyed. First, all of the Peace Corps Volunteers, as well as IFESH, VSO, etc. All of the friends I met at homestay and at site, including other lecturers at the college, journalists, neighbors, waitresses, souk owners, laundry ladies, and the postman, all of whom I got to know and enjoy.
Surprisingly, I’ll miss the touchiness of female acquaintances, who think nothing of grabbing my hand to help me navigate muddy rocks, and I’ll miss the generosity of families who think nothing of inviting whoever’s around in for some coffee and bread. I’ll miss arguing with friends and cafes over who gets to pay the bill – “no, let me, I invited, I insist, you paid last time,” knowing the more I argue the happier they feel about paying. Axumite wine tastes awful and worse still when cut with coke or worse, coffee cola, but I’ll miss the kind of party that revolves around drinking horrible alcohol, watching horrible MTV.
I’ve even come to like sharing a smile with the people staring at me. When else will I have so many opportunities to laugh at the ridiculousness of a situation? Yes, I am an American stranded in your village, in a hot minibus with a flat tire, in the rain, yes, how could it be and isn’t it hilarious that it is happening? Yes.
So I was glad that my final minibus ride out of Finote Selam took its time riding around looking for more passengers. It’s crazy that I got to live in this place for one year. Most of its inhabitants can’t believe it either, and in the end, I have to sit back and laugh and appreciate that it ever happened.
This will be very boring especially if you don’t understand Amharic, but this is a video Kelly and I made for part of Camp GLOW. The woman is really gobez, running this income-generating garden from her home and organizing a larger, previously USAID-funded, urban garden project. She has been in area newspapers because she is HIV+ and healthy, running races in the one-piece plastic sandals.
I like paying taxes. I want governments to help their people. I want schools and libraries, rehab, and until recently, I wanted a lot of foreign aid spending.
Then I saw Ethiopia.
Like any government, this one has many bad ideas* but manages to do some good things. Anyways my opinion shouldn’t matter, short of them harming** people. The citizens who pay taxes should care about and influence what happens here. At least, that’s my expectation.
As it turns out, the government funds itself not so much from taxes but from the magic ferenjis. Here’s my imagined breakdown of government income, in order of relative value:
- foreign aid
- direct foreign investment
- ferenji tax/waga
- arbitrary sales tax as political punishment (you must pay us 6000% of your net profits! Surprise! Who is the best prime minister ever?)
- sales/income/whatever tax from those suckers who don’t know how to avoid it
No wonder eyes light up and men get a skip in their step when a magic white-skinned ferenji appears: money!
Foreigners are a great source of money. If they’re new, they don’t understand the rules, and plus they feel bad seeing African poverty. If they work for a government or NGO, well, everyone knows Western money is unlimited. If you’re really poor, you can beg or pick their pockets***, and if you’re an institution, you can submit dreamy grant proposals without concern for accountability****.
Milking money from foreigners is usually called tourism, but here it’s just expected that you pay not for services received but simply for being born in the USA/England/Germany (your only nationality choices if you’re deemed white). This is most noticeable in the marketplace as ferenji waga, the buyer-specific price inflation made possible by a complete lack of posted prices. The government is no different in its logic: you are foreign, you are rich.
Recently a friend of mine was re-entering Ethiopia after a short retreat to America. She brought back a projector, donated by generous friends, that would enable her to include more children in her weekly movie showings. Airport security spotted it and demanded a 5,000 birr (~$282) tax on it.
The government that invited her here to help its children grow up healthier and literate was now demanding that she pay for the privilege of volunteering.
Nevermind that there is no mandate pricing taxes of various types of electronics. Nevermind that she, despite being an American citizen, earns and lives like a middle-class Ethiopian and has nowhere near 5,000 birr in her Commercial Bank of Ethiopia account. This is the attitude. You: ferenji, give us money.
It’s how landlords charge more to Ethiopians who work for foreign NGOs, and why beggars always head straight to me when I’m sitting in the middle of a large bus.
On the individual level, maybe it’s a mechanism for wealth distribution. Middle-class Ethiopian is still really rich compared to average Ethiopian. I get it. Share. But the government? It feels like they’ve just gotten so used to watching foreign aid and charity pour in that they feel entitled to whatever they can guilt out of iphone owners (knowing nothing about the economics of USA phone contracts).
Ethiopia gets millions of dollars in aid each year to fund its education, environment, and health programs. I know there must be more to its economy than a bouncing ball of aid and DFI, but I honestly can’t see it. The money goes from (foreign) government to institutions and the middle class, who drop a bit of that down to the really struggling masses. What is being generated here? Even the one project that is not being funded from abroad, the controversial Millennium Dam project, is being built from mandatory paycheck donations – paychecks written by the Ministry of Education or whomever, who receive a lot of aid money. I guess in theory the Dam is literally going to generate money for Ethiopia, or it’s supposed to anyways, if it ever gets built and doesn’t start a war.
They’re only not funding the project with international money because no country wants to be associated with it. For all other projects, I don’t see Ethiopia’s incentive to make itself work. Like Bill Nighy’s character advises in a movie I don’t want to admit to loving, “kids, don’t buy drugs – become a pop star, and they give them to you for free!”
I don’t understand how the US even still has any money to hand over to Ethiopia. A lot of this money is doing really good things, but a lot of it also is not, and all of it is contributing to Ethiopia’s perception of foreign = unlimited free money. Ignoring the good things part of it, I sinisterly look forward to the day when the aid stops.
Notice, too, though, what these good things are (at least in my opinion). Programs that are preventative via education, like Camp GLOW, or midwife training, or health extension workers who teach handwashing and explain birth control – a lot like the preventative and educational programs that I want to fund in America with taxes. Taxes, Ethiopia, that are paid by citizens, not magic ferenji. Programs, America, that we provide abroad but not in our own country.
*Ask me for some stories when I’m in a less-censored, less-sensitive locale.
** cough cough. Really must wait.
*** really badly though. It’s not possible to be more obvious a pick-pocket! Why better skills haven’t developed, I really don’t understand. Is it just easily profitable to beg?
**** that’s changing, though, much to every town administration’s shock*.
nosepicking. Yeah, just go for it, we all do. Wipe it on the seat and don’t wash your hands – why bother? I mean it’s just mucus from inside your face. There aren’t any germs there. Wait, what are germs? No, I haven’t heard of them either.
no sarcasm. It just doesn’t exist here. So no one gets my jokes – although this makes them even funnier for me.
Intense homophobia coupled with intense same-sex public fondling. On the one hand, the insistence that homosexuality is horrible and doesn’t even exist in Ethiopia drives me speechless with rage. On the other hand, since everyone assumes no Ethiopian would be homosexual, friends of the same sex are free to hug, nuzzle and squeeze to their clothed, public, standing heart’s content. I get a kick everytime I see two men standing chest-to-chest, their hips grinding, their happy faces nipping the friend’s ear…I clap for them like I’m at a pride parade until they notice me and begin the “hey you! Notice us! Hahahaha it’s so funny omg a ferenji is here!” routine. Me: “I’m pretty sure you’re not interested like you think you are…”
assuming non-Ethiopians don’t speak any Amharic and are really dumb. Even if I didn’t understand the “Americans are sluts!” joke you just said to your friends, I hear the word “ferenji” enough to know that you’re talking about me and laughing like a pack of nervous hyenas. And if you weren’t with your buddies, you’d be too scared to say anything. This is the “hospitable, beautiful, and polite” culture that Ethiopia supposedly has? Hm.
Vocabulary: atafirum ‘aren’t you ashamed?’ from at- [neg. 2nd sg.] and mafrat [inf.], assumedly, ‘to be ashamed’
balagi ‘rude’ etymology unknown
sharmuta ‘whore, slut, any woman we can’t control and feel nervous around’ etymology and morphology very regretfully unknown, but the same in Arabic, so I hear.
Ok, any more will just be complaining. These four points are just laughably annoying, and are part of the Ethiopian picture for better or worse.
I was kind of dreading this year’s Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). Because of my involvement with the Athens Urban Food Collective, I was leading four nutrition tutorials as well as environment day. I found myself at the last minute questioning myself, googling questions I definitely knew like “what is diabetes” and “why not to eat solid fats.” And I still didn’t know how to pronounce the name of the girl I was taking to camp on the campus of Bahir Dar University.
As these things do, it turned out well. It turned out to be my best week in Ethiopia. We didn’t lose any of the 30 high school female campers during the 6 days of camp, although one did have to go to the hospital for a few hours.
Let’s dwell on this accomplishment for a second: about 10 PCVs who have been living in Ethiopia for one year arranged and executed a week-long camp- feeding, housing and educating 30 high school students; managing counterparts and Roteract volunteers. Leah somehow arranged for classrooms and dorms, and we ate the same tasty mezzir wat every lunch and dinner in one of the student cafes. How cool is it that we could pull this off??
The dorms were a shock. The campus seems to have one dorm building, copied twenty times over campus. Each room is about the size of a regular freshman o-house / [insert any state university's disliked megabuilding] room at UGA, except with 4 bunk beds, 2 wardrobes, 1 desk, and 1 chair. Where do these 8 women study?! They really can’t own anything. The room flooded every time it rained, and we found bags of vomit stuffed under the foam mattresses. The bathrooms had plumbing, but the water didn’t run half the time. The janitors seemed to come daily, but they never touched the porcelain hole-in-the-floor shent bet that was overflowing with uni-color excrement.
Anyways, we got by. The cafe manager brought our shai bunnas to our classroom and asked each of the PCVs why a camp should be just for women. “What about the men?” he laughed.
It’s true, the men here really need a similar camp that educates them on how to interact with women. To remind me of this while the manager questioned me, the male students who overwhelmingly predominate the campus stood around our buildings, staring and laughing at the site of high school girls talking. Creepy much? I was wearing a nametag, and many of them would whisper “Kylie, please walk over here,” if I walked by alone. Ugh.
My theory is that these men wouldn’t be so pathetic, wouldn’t get away with not wearing condoms, not doing any chores, if the women refused it. Not to say that this is yet another job Ethiopian women need doing, but I wish I would see a mass putting down of the feet.
Camp was so great because I think we were the first people to ever tell these girls that they are smart, worthy people who do not deserve to take orders from the male neighbors and strangers who abuse them. We discussed sexual and reproductive health, bashing a pinata covered with Amhara’s disheartening statistics.
We did a scavenger hunt on campus and set up email accounts…maybe in the future we could do a typing class too. A fashion designer flew in from Addis. We all danced to the Injebara song. We sampled fried potato skins, and took a field trip to the Blue Nile Falls. We mispronounced camp songs – “My mudder, she wave me uh wollar! told me to buy some wader! Instead I bough some bubblewum, Bazooka uuka bubblewum!” We made smores. We enacted a drama about GI bacterial infections.
By the end of the week, the PCV counselors were no longer “those crazy ferenjis” in the opinions of the students. We were just crazy, tired people of indeterminate age and marital status. The campers themselves had stopped whispering into their hands, and were pulling us aside to ask what to say to men who are pressuring them into sex – and not just sex, unsafe, uncomfortable Amhara sex.
Who knows, maybe someday one of them will say in an interview “so you see, it all started with this thing called Camp GLOW.”
All funded, by the way, by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a not-so-emergency-anymore fund begun by President Bush, and a means of funding in Ethiopia programs that would be hard-pressed to find funding in America. I haven’t been reading any American political news, but it’s something to think about when people argue that we shouldn’t and can’t fund domestic social preventative programs.
Copying from JD and remembering some things that I like about Ethiopia:
- Getting over myself and enjoying the kids’ smiles as they reduce my identity to “ferenj” and run towards me like I’m a toy or an attraction – I’ve learned that I’m a curmudgeon (thanks Kenyatta) but if I can put aside my problems with the ferenji treatment and just enjoy kids’ enthusiasm, even if I strongly believe they are misguided and ignorant, unthinking happiness feels almost as good as thoughtful happiness. Also, people below the age of 15 don’t understand my cultural theory-lectures.
- Getting out of my comfort zone in favor of my landlady’s living room, where we talk to the limits of my Amharic and I breath deeply to fight anxiety, to try to enjoy the silence and ignore the awkwardness. Usually I come away glad that I did it, although I’m never going to seek out these experiences.
- The countryside! It would be beautiful only due to its lower population density, but it also is objectively spectacular. I don’t need a car to get away from the town, just half a morning and water for a shower afterwards.
- Teaching young women. To my own fault I only want to work with people who show foreign women respect, and that excludes the 75% of the young men at the college and in town I have major problems with. I got to sub a few of Kenyatta’s female-only classes, and while I don’t want to ever teach as a career, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I wonder what it’d be like if the students understood English – probably really fun.
- Other volunteers. We use volunteer work as an excuse for funding, but what I’ll most remember from the Peace Corps is hanging in out in dirty cafes with unshowered, oily English-speakers, enjoying the unlimited boredom and tea, and hating on the men at the next table who are staring at us love-struck and joking about how we’re sluts. Grrr I would end this post with something I really hate about Ethiopia!
Usually for breakfast I avoid the oily Ethiopian selections and instead boil water for oatmeal. It’s a highly ferenji food, and no one at the college even knows what I’m talking about when I try to explain it, but most groceries (another highly ferenji idea) in Bahir Dar carry small expensive tins of the stuff imported from the Middle East.
When I want a change, or the power’s out, or am in Bahir Dar, my favorite breakfast dish is ful. This is also vaguely ferenji: I heard it’s from Sudan, and you’re more likely to find it at Muslim-owned cafes, like Starbacks in Bahir Dar. Normal ful – this is the actual name, “normal,” – is a fasting (i.e. vegan) food, with oil, onions, beans, and berbere spice pinched by pieces of baguette. This baguette bread is another cultural import, brought by the Italians, although the Ethiopian standard lacks both a crust and taste. You would never eat ful with homemade ambasha dabo or wuha dabo.
Special ful – again, this is actually what you say in Amharic, “special” – adds the dairy products, usually egg and “yogurt” i.e. homemade sour cream i.e. whole milk that’s been left out for a few days. This one pictured has, I think, tagabino covering the expected fava beans. Other places add avocado.
I don’t have pictures of maybe the most popular breakfast dish, at least in my town, because I never order it. Injera firfir is bits of old injera, rehydrated and mixed in oil and berbere, and served on a platter of more but fresher injera. It’s just too much injera and berbere for the morning.
Chechebsa and fetira seem to be regional. Pictured below is chechebsa – fried bits of nothing, covered in oil and berbere (see a pattern?), and in this case made special by the addition of eggs and honey. Fetira is similar – layers of thin fried dough, covered with eggs and honey, cut into squares.
You can usually tell if a place has ful or chechebsa by looking out for an A4 paper sign with 4 Fidel letters, size 72, reading ful ala – ‘there is ful.’
If you are poorer, you won’t be eating any of these foods. At best, you can hope for a sambusa or another variety of fried dough. A sambusa, like an Indian sambosa, is a fried pocket of yellow lentils and onions. The Finote Selam varient pictured below has puffy, and not crispy, fried bread, like a bumbilini that was accidentally exposed to a few stray lentils.
You drink tea with everything. The tea content is very weak, and it’s more an excuse to get some sugar in you, which is nice with the fried foods as they aren’t sweet. This is a general rule with Ethiopian food – drinks very sweet, foods never. The bumbilini are also, guessing from the name, an Italian donation.
If you have only 3 birr to spend on your breakfast and tea, look for a piece of knitted cloth thrown over a stone like this. 75% of the time the cloth will be neon green, or a faded shade of. Inside these mud-floored rooms you’ll sit on a bench and a lady will bring you dabo, fresh from the open fire (you hope the fire is outside, but a little CO in the morning does brighten the day). Ambasha dabo looks like a huge pizza crust made with too much yeast, and tends to be dark. It tastes like dense homemade doughy bread because that’s exactly what it is. Diffo dabo (I’ve also heard wuha dabo, ‘water bread,’) is huge but with more airholes, and very moist. Both go really well with the sugar water a ten year-old girl with her baby brother strapped on her back has just prepared by pouring boiling water (taken off the little charcoal grill) through a sieve of tea onto 1/4 cup sugar in a 4-ounce glass tumbler. Note that sugar is hard to find, regulated by the government, and fought over in the streets by detoxing women. The family earns all of like, 0.10 birr = $0.006 on each cup of tea. I used to eat at these kinds of places about once a week, getting jittery off the sugar and the blasting ETV, dodging fleas and drunk men, until my landlady caught me and the Ethiopian ideas of caste forbid me from returning…at least in my neighborhood, where word gets around.