Cris in Ethiopia

Hoppy Easter

Posted by Cris on April 9, 2007

I hope everyone had a nice Easter. Ours was great. We slept in, then got up and ate eggs and chocolate chips for breakfast (seperately).  We then decided we needed to go to the store, as we had a pineapple to buy for the dinner we were invited to. We stepped outside the compound and started walking down the street when we saw a severed sheep head, eyes and all, staring up at us from the side. I thought it was kinda cool, Amy got a shiver down her spine, and we continued walking. Then maybe 10 yards further down the road we saw the second sheep head. I wondered if our walk was going to be lined with sheep parts, but that seemed to be the end of it. I saw another head late in the day, but that was all.

Why put the heads in the street? There werent other parts laying about- no feet, tails, entrails, skins… Why just the heads? Why dispose of the heads in this manner, when the rest seems to be disposed of more privately? I wont believe for a second, either, that the head is the only part that doesnt get eaten. Anyways, arent there about a million things you can do with a sheep head other than throw it in the street? I mean, bleach it and put it on the front of a minibus, or a taxi, thus turning them into war minibusses or war taxis. Put it in your enemy’s bed, a la Godfather. Cut off the horns and make a rad viking helmet. Wouldnt that be cool? Imagine riding your motorbike around town with a viking helmet on. You can bet the pedestrians and herdsmen would get out of your way a step quicker, eh?  I told Amy we could take one home for Blacky, so he could have an Easter treat as well, but she vetoed that idea real quick like.

We got to be privy to the pre-Easter madness at the market Saturday. We needed a few things but more or less just wanted to look around. It was very busy, but everyone was nice and seemed in the mood to chat and laugh at our Amharic. Amy bought a half kilo of teff,  and some ladies asked her why she was buying it. She said to make injera, and they all started laughing. “How many injeras are you going to make?” they asked her. “Three or four?” Evidently you need more than a half kilo of teff to make any sort of respectable pile of injera. Not to mention we have no idea where to get it ground into flour, how to ferment it, how long to ferment it, and where we will make it. But maybe some day we will make injera with it. Other than the busy but still pretty tame market, most pre Easter prep seemed to revolve around parading various sizes and styles of livstock about town, hoping someone would buy them. Sheep, goats, cows and chickens were the meats of choice (the only ones really, since both muslims and ethiopian orthodox are barred from eating pigs). I asked some boys how much their tinnish cows were, and they said 1,300 birr. A big one would be 3,000 or more. Most of the cows are bought and shared between 8-12 families though, or at least that what my class told me this morning. Chickens were by far the most popular animal bought: a chicken was about 50 birr, up from about 25 birr a month ago. One of the fruit seller guys near our house bought 100 chickens and sold them all in 4 days last week. He made maybe 5 birr profit on each one. The last lonely, scrawny rooster was tied to the post in front of the store Saturday night, and when we passed 20 minutes later he had been sold. Saturday morning the air hummed with rooster crows, but Sunday it was completely silent. A goat or sheep I guess would be a couple hundred birr, though I didnt ask. Eggs (one of the main ingredients in the Ethiopian national dish, doro wat) went up from .60 cents to .75, or even a birr each for big ones.

The main event, our dinner with Nardos’ family, went well. We ate piles and piles of doro wat, the custom being to fill your guests’ plates multiple times despite their protests. After the doro we ate tibs: oil-fried mutton nuggets with onions and peppers. The tibs was followed by three cups of traditional coffee, cookies, popcorn, t’edla (a homemade liquor), and wine. We went home thoroughly stuffed and went to sleep listening to our stomachs complain. We woke up listening to our stomachs complain, and I am just now feeling like eating lunch. People are a bit zombie-like today, after two months of a vegan-like fast, two days (for a lot of people) of complete fasting (not even water), being in church all night Saturday to Sunday, and then gorging on meat, milk, cheese, alcohol (and whatever else was banned during fasting) yesterday.

2 Responses to “Hoppy Easter”

  1. Rob said

    Sounds like an awesome time! The preparations for this event seem even stricter than Ramadan!

  2. mom said

    sure wish i could send you some eggs-you could open your own stand. everyone here is laying and of course now no one (except gma) wants any free eggs. so the next time you see dad and i our chloesterol (spelled wrng.) will be way up there. maybe i should learn how to pickle eggs. but who would eat those? love you lots, mom.

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