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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Brueggeman

Goederts in Ethiopia Week 8: Celebrating James’ Birthday

Each omelet comes with a small loaf of bread that is cut into four thick slices. We might have one slice each with our breakfast, which is plenty, and then take the remainder home for lunch or dinner sandwiches. We really love our Macchiatos for breakfast but, in true American fashion, we supersize by ask for a “double” which is really the size of a small coffee cup. A single order is more like a shot glass-(a really small shot glass in my family). Bread in Amharic is “douba”. So, the problem with ordering a macchiato double is that it can get confused with an order for a macchiato and an additional loaf of  ‘douba’. We really didn’t need two extra loaves of bread to go along with the two loaves that came with our pepper infested omelets that we could wash down with a single shot of coffee.

Our waitresses try so hard to please us and we have become favorites in all the establishments we frequent. Some have good understanding of English and our exchanges are limited but enjoyable. Getting the bill, however, is a struggle. The time that it takes to pay is often substantially longer than the time to order and eat your meal.  Unlike the States where you are encouraged to pay and make room for the next customers, here there is no pressure to vacate a table. This Ethiopian culture is polite and kind, never wanting to offend, and they would be very amazed about our American ‘rushing’ at meals and then seeing waitstaff present a bill the minute they serve.

My birthday night, we arrived home to darkness, discovering that the electrical problem of the neighborhood was a transformer right next to our building. We have headlamps, solar lights and candles so it wasn’t a huge problem for us. In fact, it is a bit fun to read by candlelight and to avoid CNN. But daily we had to organize places to recharge phones and laptops and access the Internet. After a few days they wired the Wi-Fi from an emergency generator and got the Internet going again. The biggest problem with no electricity is no hot water. We try not to complain as we see from our window many homes without the benefit of wells and water. We admittedly have been spoiled with the luxury of hot water. At the seven-day mark, we were more than happy to see the new transformer arrive, repaired and ready to provide power for lights and hot water.

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