Sunday, June 13, 2010

Language, food, laughs...and more

Here are three of my guys who work at The Reporter which is written in Amharic and they also have another product in English. "Zach" or Zekairius; Bruh in the jacket and Yibekal are three of the eight men I am working with right now. As you can see, they are young and lots of fun and clearly enjoy working together.

I haven't had any time to see anything much but my driver let me stop and take a couple of photos as we drove by...this is Trinity Church (get it, three?) and apparently is spectacular. I am hoping to get inside of this yet this week. There are lots of vendors and beggars sitting outside of the security gates as you can see.

This lion is the symbol of Addis Ababa and everyone is very proud of him...he symbolizes strength. The man, whose head you see the top of was pretty sure I was taking his photo and grinned and asked for 100 Birr. I laughed and we took off.

This photo made my driver, Shemelis, laugh his butt off. This is a bank. Just liked its design...kinda cool.
As usual, my favorite thing is eating strange food items. Today, for dinner I ate Doha Wat, which is supposedly a stewed chicken in a sauce which one eats with the traditional bread and by hand. The dish came with the largest boiled egg in it that I have ever was size XXXL! And it was accompanied by the tiniest drumstick and thigh I have ever seen. This chicken did NOT lay this egg. Anyway, the sauce was spicy and the mix of egg and chicken delicious.
Lunch was Ybege Tibs, a diced lamb, hot pepper, green pepper and onion dish in a spicy light sauce and again, one scoops the meat mix up in the light bread by hand. Yesterday's lunch dish was Shiroc Quanta, and Shiroc is made from a pounded grain with onion, oil, spices and who knows what else. The Quanta part is just a dried meat (the guys couldn't tell quite what type) but yummy. Had yogurt and an apple in my room last night...eating too much but none of it is fried and I am eating half portions so feeling very responsible.
At lunch today, I asked my guys to teach me some Amharic words and hear they are spelled phonetically:
please: abkeh if speaking to a man; abkesh if speaking to a woman
hello: salaam which one can also use to say "peace be with you" which could be a good bye or it could be a thanks also
goodbye: dehenahun to a man; dehenahunu to a woman
thank you: amesegunaluhu (try this one three times)
umat: really?
f**k: tenafu (this doesn't matter if you are speaking to a man or a woman)
what the heck?: menabatu to a woman; menabatwa to a man
One of the editors told me there are 37 letters in Amharic but there are seven or so "extensions" to every it would be like adding a dot over an e to make it an "extension" of the e sound, if that makes sense. There is a reason the world does not speak Amharic...the guys started me off with a word that had 19 syllables (not letters) in it and I just could not get my tongue around it.
All were quite amazed that I wanted to learn how to swear...not that I would here. That would be horribly inappropriate. They swear but "just in private" and I wanted to know what good that would do. They laughed...if they really want to be rude in public they do a tongue sucking sound or click their fingers. That is worse than a nasty F word. Sounds much more civilized.

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