June 24, 2011
My trip to Mekelle
I woke early to get ready for my flight to Mekelle. I put on my Ethiopian dress, all excited. I did my make up and off to the airport I went. I hadn’t had any food or coffee yet and I wanted to but it was time to go through customs again and I knew it would take me some time. I was wrong; the attendants at the airport were delightful. “Musika??” They said, “Yes, I answered, “how nice.” Off I went to wait for my plane. But now I can’t get any food, I’m on the other side of the gate. “Oh well, I will get something on the plane.”
An hour and a half later I landed in Mekelle. Oh, how nice it was to be back in the land of, what I thought from previous trips, happiness. I got off the plane and excitedly ran to see my good friend Gebremedhin waiting for me at the airport. I can’t tell you how fantastic it was to see his sweet face. We embraced and hugged and hugged each other. I just love this person. He is such a sweet man and he came to greet me at the airport. I was delighted to see him.
I haggled a driver to get the price of the car trip down from $1500br to $1000br to take me to Adigrat. I got someone to agree and I off I went to Adigrat. I noticed I wasn’t as excited to get to Adigrat as I have been in the past. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it is because I have been there many times now and it wasn’t that new. We arrived at the Eve Hotel and unloaded my luggage to my room. My God was I exhausted. I hadn’t finished getting my luggage to my room before I was on my bed and fast asleep. I woke to the knocking of my door from Seyoum. It was 8pm. I told him to meet me down stairs so I can freshen up and we can have some dinner. Oh how fun it was to sit with my friends and we drank St. George beer and ate a fantastic Ethiopian dinner. Seyoum called Gebremedhin and Mehanie to come visit too. We talked into the night and laughed and enjoyed one another’s company. After a while I tired again. I bid my friends good night and asked Seyoum to meet me in the morning to take me to St. Lucy’s school for parent’s day.
June 25, 2011
Meeting the flute students and Parents Day
I woke and I hadn’t had a cup of coffee in 2 days. My head was throbbing from the detox of caffeine. I got ready for my day and went down stairs. It was dark and quiet in the hotel. Someone saw me and I asked, “Buena?” (Which is coffee in Tigrinya). “No Buena,” the girl said. Oh what do I do? I’ve got a coffee headache and I’m hungry. I called Seyoum, it was 7am. “Seyoum, can you come and meet me and take me to a place where I can get some coffee and breakfast?” “Of course, Celine but give me a while, I just woke up and I need to get ready.” “Just woke up?” I thought, “He was suppose to me at 7:30 in the morning. Will I have time for coffee and breakfast?” Then before I knew it the girl from the hotel had woken the hotel manager. He was obviously tired. He rushed to start up the espresso machine. In moments I had a nice cup of macchiato placed before me. Then I large plate of Special Fata was put down for me to eat.
Special Fata is my all time favorite thing to eat in Ethiopia. I was so delighted to see this.
Special Fata is a dish of 3 rolls, like French rolls, onions and garlic are sautéed in butter. The bread is torn into small pieces and tossed with berbere (Ethiopian red pepper). The egg is scrambled in the butter mixture and the bread mixture is fried in the butter. The egg, bread and a yogurt like cheese is then tossed all together in a silver bowl. Sprinkle that with salt and enjoy. It is delicious.
In walks Seyoum. We greet and I ask him to enjoy this breakfast with me. He did. We talked about music and the flute students. We finished up the breakfast and the coffee. I looked at my watch. “Oh, Seyoum, it’s 10 minutes to 8am, we must go so you aren’t late for school.” “No Celine, we have time, it is early still.” “What time is it Seyoum?” “Its 6:30am Celine.” OMG, I thought, I’ve woken the help in the hotel around 5am. I was asking for coffee. I called Seyoum and that was before 6am, that poor guy. OMG, I felt so bad.
I attended the Parents Day. Parents Day is an end of the school celebration with music, songs, skits, dancing, and poems read for the parents. It is very nice. The flute students didn’t perform like I was told they would. I will tell you later why. I greeted so many children with warm hugs and gentle kisses. So beautiful they are. Immediately they started to sing to me “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” I was delighted to listen to them sing to me. None of them could speak their English to me. I was sad with all the work I had put into the children the year before, but oh well, that’s the teacher’s fault not mine. Many pictures were taken, much hugs were given, and greetings to the parents.
Afterwards the flute students waited for me patiently to greet with me. I was so happy to see them. I asked why they didn’t play and it was said that they had already performed earlier in the quarter so the sisters wanted to have other performances instead. Whatever!!!! The flute students and I hugged and kissed. We were all happy to see each other. I sat with them and shared how Megan Holstedt, a flute teacher and employer of Miyazawa Flute Company and Miyazawa had sent them new books, new metronomes/tuners, and flutes. Oh how happy they were to hear this. I showed them on my cell phone, the benefit concert I gave in their behalf. They loved seeing that too. I told them they now are graduating from my program and they are becoming the flute teachers. The students all cheered.
Later I went to see the sisters. They greeted me nicely. Immediately Sr. Kahsa said, “You need to have your flute class in Golaa” I don’t want you to use any of our classrooms to teach your students because we are cleaning the classrooms and don’t want them to be used until the next school year.” I said, “Golaa is far, Sr. Kahsa, its quite a walk for the students. I will have classes in the morning hours and that means the students will have to leave their homes early to get to Golaa.” Then Sr. Kahsa said, “Well the priests are using the bottom half of the school this summer, so you can ask them if you can use a classroom.” I thought this seems to be a little curt on Sr. Kahsa’s part, what’s wrong? Later Seyoum explained to me that at the end of the 8th grade testing, several 8th grade students went crazy. They broke windows, a crucifix, and a picture of St. Lucy. The school director, Sr. Grace was very angry with this vandalism and demanded the students tell who did it. None of the students would nark on each other. So Sr. Grace told the 8th grade students after they graduate to not return to St. Lucy’s school because she doesn’t want to see them. Seyoum begged Sr. Grace to let us have flute class here. All my advance students were in the 8th grade. He assured her none of the flute students were vandalizes of the school. More to come….