Talking to Goats

The delicious chakala t'ibs with awazi and tej

The delicious chakala t’ibs with awazi and tej

Sometimes I find myself talking to the stray goat who wanders into my yard. A random cat pokes its head into my room and I ask her how she’s been. I curse death threats out loud to the roaches in my bathroom.

It’s right around this time that I realize I’ve been alone at site a little too long. I pack a quick bag and jump on a mini bus to Jimma. My friend there happens to speak perfect English, has access to MTV and owns a working fridge: three amazing amenities for a girl from Agaro. A cold gin and tonic later, plus a some Macklemore, Nicki Minaj and Avicii, and it’s almost like I’m back in America again.

For dinner, we often go to a restaurant famous for their chakala t’ibs. This is probably my favorite Ethiopian food ever. It’s roasted meat–usually sheep or goat–served in a clay pot with hot charcoal underneath. You eat it by hand with injera and a spicy awazi sauce.

This place also has the best t’ej in all of Jimma. T’ej is a local alcohol made out of honey. It’s traditionally served in beakers that look like they came straight from a science lab.

If we have enough of these potent beakers, we might make it to the local club in Jimma. They have a DJ and play a mix of Amharic and American music. There’s a little cultural dancing, a little farenji dancing, and a lot of crazy dancing.

By the next day, I’m ready to head back to Agaro. I welcome the kids, the local greetings and another stretch of time in my quiet little community.

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