Wednesday, August 26, 2015

(After Ethiopia) Top 10: Amharic Expressions that Fascinate, Amuse and Sometimes Annoy Me


While my Amharic vocabulary is bet’am tenish tenish, it exceeds ten words, for sure. Indeee! There’s the usual – selam no! konjo no! sinte no? chigeryelleum! – but I’m listing down 10 expressions that I hear all the time, and all over, spoken by students, colleagues, friends, strangers which are annoyingly fascinating.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Last meals...

Ground beef with greens.

It's my last week in Dire Dawa and I'm finishing off my last ingredients. I've been going out too much this past week, having not prepared food and dined at home, but that was getting to be too expensive, not to mention, tiring. I'm too old to become a basket case all over again. (Well...)

So, I bought half a kilo of ground beef and some beef bones that should set me up for the week. Good luck to me.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Got (Camel's) Milk?

So, camel's milk...

So Krishna, who is also leaving Ethiopia, has this brilliant idea of cleansing/detoxing via camel's milk, before we go. Because, you know, Ethiopia.

You see, camel's milk is said to treat constipation which means...

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Beyond Borders: A Visit to a Somali Refugee Camp in East Ethiopia

Me at Sheder Camp, Ethiopia.

June 20 is World Refugee Day, dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.

With news of hundreds of migrants risking death each year in the Mediterranean Sea and the Rohingya crisis in our Southeast Asian waters, the wars in Iraq, Syria, South Sudan and other African countries, the  refugee question now, more than ever, needs to be highlighted and addressed not only by world leaders and humanitarians but everyone.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Listen, hombre!

Condescension. The trait of displaying arrogance by patronizing those considered inferior. A communication that indicates lack of respect by patronizing the recipient. A congenital disease common to Westerners, white folks, people from the developing world with symptoms that range from disdain to, ignorance of and prejudice against people -- blacks, browns, yellows -- from the developing world (aka their former colonies).

Ever since I got to Ethiopia and met and interacted with more "white" people (I had a crowd of international people back home, but they were mostly like-minded liberals, activists if you must, with the occasional drunk prick lost in the islands looking for exotic women), I've been subjected to hues of prejudice, some negligible (the folly of being human) but most are annoying, deprecating and infuriating. Because, no these guys are good guys, essentially. Not the usual arrogant, insolent, self-complacent racist, xenophobic bigoted troll. I've shot back a few times but mostly let it slip by.

Today, I've had enough of it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Strange Encounter: Dream, dream, dream

As I was about to enter the DDU main gate, a guy just coming out from campus, lit up upon seeing me.

"Hi. How are you, architect?" While stretching his arm for a handshake, of course.

Who is this guy? Puzzled, I answered smiling. "Heeey. Fine. How are you?"

I did not know the guy. It's probably the first time I'm seeing him. Yes, I tell myself. I don't know this guy. But that's fine, everyone says hi to everyone here. Most of the time.

But then...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Clean, crisp bills, again.

ATM Card. They call it Visa card here. It's Visa, indeed. 

After 5 months, I finally got my replacement ATM card. Clean, crisp bills. From cash machines. This means.



Friday, May 22, 2015

Got my grapes!

Green, green bokeh!

The best feature of my little compound is definitely the grape vine trellis. (Especially, when I transferred to the "house" proper of the compound, where the trellis is.)

It yielded fruits last year, but wasn't keen to "harvest" them, because when I tried to taste one from off the vine, it tasted rather sour. (On hindsight, it must be because I picked up an unripe piece.)

But this year, the translucent green goblets hung too delectably to resist.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fish Week!

Fried tilapia with crispy fried red onions

Following the meat frenzy to mark the end of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church's fasting season -- Fasika ( aka the Ethiopian Easter) -- seems like I took a bad bunch, which interestingly was not from the Fasika feast (doro wot minamin minamin), I think, but from the fiyel (goat meat) tibs from a local restaurant... and then some... (minamin minamin).

Saturday, April 25, 2015

This sunburn ain't coming off!

A little souvenir from my trip in the Ethiopian Somali region last week.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Let's eat, kamote!

Too red. Means, it's a little bit overcooked. But still yummy, to me.

Deep-fried caramelized sweet potato. Easily one of my favorite Filipino snack foods.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dancing in the Dark

A gleek even in the dark. 

I wish.

There's been almost daily power outages ever since the hot season kicked in. This is nothing new, but still something to bitch about. Second only to the sweltering Dire Dawa heat.

Ah well. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

It's that time of the month. (It's always that time of the month.)

Pasta with nothing. Okay, there's garlic. And in other parts that's cool, pasta al ajillo, anyone?

I'm imagining Gambas Al Ajillo Pasta, particularly Dong Juan's, but all I got is this. Pasta al ajillo. Not even cooked with olive oil. No herbs. And of course, forget about the shrimps (or prawns), there's none in Dire Dawa.

But the thing really is, even if there were any, I prolly will not be able to afford it.


*mic drop*

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Getting the Party Started! (I.Am.Womam 2015 Art Exhibit Ingress)

2nd year architecture students mount their sketches on frames provided by Alliance.

We'll be winging it. That's always been the idea.

The exhibit ingress, we announced to participating students, would be today, Saturday, the morning & afternoon before the exhibit is set to open at 6pm later. We agreed to an 8am assembly time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

So, this is actually happening.

After months of contemplation (yes, I've been trying to do a Baji -- like this, and this, and this, and this -- here...), weeks of consultations (read: side talks during lulls over beer) and discussions with anyone who might be interested, and then finally, getting some people interested, to the point where they're actually now the ones pursuing me about it (read: success! but to me, really: aneurysm) -- it's finally happening: a DDU-organized women's month arts exhibit here in Dire Dawa.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Happy International Women's Day


We do this every year. But we struggle daily, 24/7. And we fight. And march on. All the time.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Overlooking Dire Dawa

Overlooking Dire Dawa.

Finally, I scaled one of the hills surrounding Dire Dawa.

And not bad after a Saturday night out, yeah.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Need more meds

Doxycycline + Ibuprofen + Ascorbic Acid

I've never been exposed to synthetic drugs, growing up. The family was all about organic, herbs and roots, steaming and stuff. Having a legit shaman aka traditional healer in the family, my grandfather Talio, helped a lot, too.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I (stove-top) baked a cake.

Chocolate cake!

And ate it, too. (Bad pun, geez.)

It's cake mix, of course. Not the best. But at least, there's some chocolate there, unlike the so-called "black forest"cake, pastry shops sell here.

Craving for chocolate cake satiated. Off to the next hungering.

My 2014 in food

My year in food (that I cooked/prepared) can be summed up in one word: eggs. Hands down.

But it was also a year, of invention & reinvention, or should I say cover+remixes. And sure I can count the burnt rice, burned meat, spoiled dishes, expired food, the many food stuff that I had to throw away, whilst mumbling, so-sorry, but there were good times, positively.

Have I adequately fed myself? Definitely, maybe.

Friday, January 9, 2015

I lost my phone - again.

Of course, it happened. Murphy never fails.

Barely a month after I bought a new smartphone, there, it's out the window again. Actually, out the bajaj. That's definitely where I lost/dropped/left it. Same as last time. Damn.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mandala, sort of

Drink my inkshake.
Or my tribute to #CharlieHebdo. #JeSuisCharlieHebdo

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Melkam Genna at Emebet's Home

Doro wat, always doro wat. My favorite. (Note to self: have to ask the recipe from someone.)
While last year, Gavin and I were invited for the Ethiopian Christmas Day at our landlord's place, the next-door neighbor really, for some sumptuous doro wat and coffee, this year, our dayguard, Emebet, (also our landlady's sister), invited me to celebrate Genna with her and daughter Seppora.

Friday, January 2, 2015

My 2014 in films & reads

An eclectic mix, I'd say.
Next to brooding and sleeping, what's a volunteer to do when trapped at the solitary confines of one's home?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Happy New Year

Strike sparks everywhere aka an attempt at light-painting.
So, I ended up hosting a New Year's Eve party. Thanks to everyone who came, it was a blast.