2 weeks in Addis

Jetlag. 9 hours and a half training days. Buna (about 5 cups a day).Say (pronounce like shy in english,which is tea). Food. Goat meat (my favorite).Freshly squeezed orange juice no sugar added. Cold gold (Habeesha beer). Wifi!! By the way, I wrote this post a while back, I just now have wifi (Yes I am Im Addis Ababa again).


These are the words that comes to my mind when I think of my first two weeks in Addis Ababa. After a 13hour and 15 minutes flight from Dulles to Bole airport, my day started with a typical Buna ceremony.

The ceremony represents a sign of hospitality and respect on the part of Ethiopians. It is basically a coffee break but every time it is done, the person making the coffee goes through the same ritual every single time. They serve the coffee with snacks (popcorn, bread,roasted bulgur wheat, fried potatoes etc…). In some regions, instead of sugar, butter or salt is added to the coffee.  Children are not allowed to drink coffee but they can participate in the ritual. The youngest person present at the ceremony distribute the snacks to the attendees. Attendees are expected to drink 3 cups of coffee (not the mug size but the little cups). Interesting enough, each cup has a name. The first cup is called Abule, the second Tona and the third Baraka. Im not sure if I spelled them correctly but you get the idea. The oldest person present receives the first cup of coffee. Ethiopian women usually make their own coffee so men are more likely to get coffee at a coffee shop, where there is a minimal female presence.

Everything I’ve experienced in Ethiopia so far is a life  lesson (I’m not saying everything else that I’ve experienced in life wasn’t a life lesson but for the purpose of my service its relevant) Buna breaks teaches me to STOP AND LIVE IN THE MOMENT.I did not think about it that way until I heard someone say it and actually realized how Ethiopians focus on the sound and smell of coffee making. The ceremony is usually quiet and a soothing sound comes from the roasting coffee beans. Incense are often added to the charcoal and provides a calming environment.


When I moved to my pre-service training site with my host family, I was constantly asked to join a buna ceremony. It could be while I’m walking to class, buying scratch cards for my phone at a suq (boutique) or visiting a family friend. There is no such thing as no for an answer to a buna invitation, unless it is randomly from the opposite sex which implies that the person wants to take you out on a date.

I did not only drink coffee during my time in Addis Ababa but I also went out to different restaurants. Oh yea! Cheap and good food (but I will post about it separately). I’m saying cheap because I’m always comparing prices in Ethiopia to the United States but I need to stop doing that  because I am getting paid in birr so far :/.

Its 11:58 pm, I am going to bed. Good night/Good morning!

Dinknesh = You are wonderful




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