April Fools in Ethiopia

3 Apr

It comes and it goes just like all the other days.  But not without its victims.  What happens to a couple of ferrenge (that is what Ethiopians call obvious foreigners) when they are nervous about being the proverbial fish out of water?  I doubt if you are wondering how they knew we are foreigners, so let me just explain why they knew that we were feeling like the dried out fish.  You have heard the saying, “Deer in the headlights look.”  That was us on Monday.  But by Friday the amount of white showing in our eyes had just about returned to normal. 

There we were sitting in our temporary office at the LSM counseling center, saying, “eu,” “ oo,”  “ee,” “ah,” “ey,” “ whatever upside down e is,” and “oh”.  It’s not an Ethiopian prayer chant; it’s the endings that go on each of the 34 letters in their fidel (alphabet).  Yup.  That’s a total of 238 symbols.  Then, you know what the words sound like but, you still do not have the foggiest on what they mean.  Does that widen your eyes a bit?  Enough background.  In walks Paulos with a green paper in his hand which was written in the Amharic symbols we are studying.  He drops it on the desk with this forlorn look in his eyes.  “Can you read this email from the Bureau of Foreign Affairs?”  He even looks away, pausing for dramatic effect.  “It says that you need to pack up and return home right away.”  Then silence.  I almost thought I saw his eyes glassing up a bit.  Then we began to hear Meti and Helena giggling outside the door.  Paulos cracked and started smiling, “April Fools!”  The thing that shares hope in our hearts in this story is that Susan and I both felt our hearts drop in a surge of disappointment before we started to laugh.

One Response to “April Fools in Ethiopia”

  1. Aimee April 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    Sounds like you have some jokesters on your hands! Ha! Ha!

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