SWEEP Banner

Ethiopia by E-mail

Subject: HI all from Addis
Date: Sun, 14 May 2006 11:38:16 -0400
From: Pat Rollin parollin9923@hotmail.com

We are doing well. Got a message from the US Embassy saying to be careful this weekend and next week because it is the first anniversary of the Elections last year and their may be added problems. Jim has a ride to work with IFESH on Monday and if I go to Gemini Thomas will take me and pick me up if problems arise. I am in a compound and will not go out but will check to make sure they are open before I go. The computer is working better today.

We have had a busy week. Wednesday night we went to Tenagne's house for dinner and to see his family. Samuel his little boy is 3 1/2 years old and still shy but after a while came in from playing outside and visited with us. I took him a package of colored pencils and a drawing pad of paper. He was really pleased with his big (telleq) pencils and told his father that he wanted his property back when Tenagne took a couple of pencils. He is now attending preschool and likes school. Tenagne is working on his thesis and looking forward to graduation and hoping that he can continue his education with a PHD soon.

Thursday night we had dinner with the Workforce Project people at a traditional restaurant Ensera. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with traditional objects on the walls as well as pictures. They have traditional food and dancing. We got to meet some of the Ethiopians on the project as well as saying good bye to the Americans from Cleveland and Chicago who were here for the first Job Fair at AAU.

Jim went with Nathan on Friday morning to book a trip to the Historical Route the weekend of Memorial Day in the USA. So we will get to see Lalibela, Axum and Gonder. They are thinking about a trip to Bahar Dar for a couple of extra days but would like to drive to see the Blue Nile Gorge. The road is supposed to be better this time so we will see but I am sure if they work out the schedule we will be going with Nathan & Mel. Nathan has some work to do and we will just sightsee. We seen the Falls last year but Jim would like to go to the Monasteries this time but that means taking a boat. So we will see if there is time to fit that into our schedule.

Jim and I went to the university and he showed me what he needed done to enter data for the applications for next year's class into the computer. They had 246 applications and 205 took the tests so it is going to be a long process grading the exams and reading the applications. Someone must go through the grades the students turned in, the personal statements and CV. While they were at a meeting of the Social Work staff I entered the data. They set up a schedule of events that needed to be decided as to when and where tests would be graded and they also decided that since they had so many that one person would not read all the personal statements and CV the group would share the process, thesis deadlines, and graduation parties to take place. Melese is still checking with a couple of other graduate programs to see if we can have a joint graduation and what date it is possible so we still wait on the plans to come home. Shannon told us she would see us in September. She is buying us Wheatland tickets for the first week after Labor Day so we hope to be home then. We have checked and our tickets are good until the middle of September and the students keep telling me James promise them he would be therer for their graduation day. So we are trying.

Wedding Ceremony Saturday was the wedding of Abebe's nephew. The Bride was named Rahel and the Groom was Binyam. It was at the Lutheran Church near Gemini Trust so we went. It was a very nice service mostly in Amharic. One man spoke and every once in awhile said one sentence in English. They did their vows and a promising ceremony then signed their certificate in front of the minister and all the people present then held it up for everyone to see. At one point the bride and groom changed the way the were sitting and the wedding party had to move from one side of the altar to the other.

Then we went to the Ghion Hotel and had our picture taken with the Bride and Groom. They are two Ethiopians who are living in Canada and he has many jobs and she is a nurse. They had came home to get married. After that we went with Abebe, the groom's mother and some of the other students from Social Work to a restaurant and had lunch.

We came home to our house Nathan, Mel, Jim and I then got a contract cab to the reception at 6:30. The Bride and Groom were just arriving so we watched them go in, have a dance and then be seated on the stage. We were met at the door by Abebe who made sure we had good seats to watch the wedding party, dancing and he sat with us. He wanted to make sure we understand the wedding culture.

They were married in the Lutheran Church so they had no alcohol and we were told they could only sing religious songs at the wedding and reception. One of the students was Orthodox and told us if we went to an Orthodox wedding they would sing a lot of tribal songs and not all religious songs and there would be tela and tej. There were a lot of people there but I am sure not everyone came. The reception was on the road to Nathan's. It was in a beautiful hall and they said 1500 people had been invited.

The bride was in a beautiful western style wedding dress with a train and a lot of tulle. They had to go up and down stairs to dance, go to the buffet line, and cut the cake. We wondered how she could get around with all the material in her dress. The bride and groom went up different sides of the Cutting the Cake stage so he was not there to help her, just the wedding attendants. The cake was single layers on a metal frame that Mel said it looked like a ferris wheel. The cakes were all white frosting with roses in the top and around the sides and just before the cake ceremony they turned the frame on so the cakes went around and while they were cutting the cake it continued to go around. They were both standing on folding chairs to cut the cake and have a toast. We all thought that was a little dangerous but it turned out well. Then they threw thank you notes attached to pieces of tulle and jordan almonds to the people standing below their chairs.

All during the service, drive to the wedding, hotel for pictures and the reception they had a crew videoing the process. In the USA them video crew would not have been allowed to walk all over in the church to get the best views for videos. I know ministers are letting you video your wedding now but usually the people doing the videoing set up and stay in a couple of different places to get the taping done. But these guys were all over the church walking everywhere. Jim was told to walk whereever he liked to take pictures but being raised in Michigan you don't walk up on the altar during the ceremony so you can take pictures of the bride and groom that are seated on chairs in the aisle before the altar.

We went to church this morning then picked up Nathan and Mel and went to Sandhya's and then Bombay Brassieres for dinner with our upstairs neighbors, Melese, an India friend of Sandyha's and her spouse. We had a really nice time. The people upstairs from us have been working and living in different African countries for 30 years. He teaches Physics at AAU at the Arat Kilo campus. The other friend is a construction worker who is working in Addis on a couple of different projects.

We hope all the mothers, wives and daughters are having a good Mother's Day. We will write again soon. We are not feeling any danger right now but are still very careful. We had Thomas take us to church this morning instead of riding the mini bus.

Bye for now, Pat.


For text-based links to pages on this site's navigation menu please use the site map.