Trip Start Aug 30, 2006
25Trip End Nov 10, 2006
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I'm told that everyone in town knows that I'm here and it seems like it. My morning walks have to be more and more calculated.
A 90 year old lady who lived across the street from Mama Buzu's passed away
I've seen Ethiopian funerals before, but I didn't realize they had something like life insurance here. The lady had been paying a monthly fee so that when she died everything would be looked after. Death is a big business here. Families wail, friends cry, but apparently they also hire wailers, women to come and make a big scene with their tears.
They erect these wooden posts outside the family's house and lean corrugated roof material on it to protect almost a whole block of the street from the sun and the rain. And its here that people from the town gather and pay their respects.
Everyone brings a gift for the family. Sometimes sugar or coffee, or some sort of present to commemorate the event. For three days they sit under there, rain or shine, in the heat and the cold. Family members sleep on the floor, friends sleep on the earth. All to show respect and mourning. So for a couple of days now, every time I venture in and out of Mama Buzu's house I step over benchers and nod to people.
I create quite a stir everywhere I go, but now imagine the recipe of dozens and dozens of older people sitting together for hours talking about everything under the sun. Throw into the mix a young white western lady, who is the granddaughter of Buzunish Atsbeha.
And basically every single piece of information everyone has on me is shared
I like the family of the dead woman, the ladies especially, they smile generously which is comforting to me because at least the disturbance I cause is not offending those in the most grief. I like that Zephan (a lady who rents a room from Mama Buzu) is often out there with them as well. At least she can set the record straight.
Apparently one lady came to pay respects, heard that I was here and claimed that she would see this granddaughter of Buzu. So she knocked on the door, Bahafta answered and told the woman that I was sleeping. Which was true. It was seven in the morning. And she hasn't been back. I guess its embarrassing to be turned away in front of so many people.
Grandma has been heavily involved in business talk for the time that I've been here. A lot of talk in Tigrinya, which flies over my head, and can be quite frustrating.
None the less, it's been good to be here.