Week 3 & 4 in Deneba, Ethiopia- 10/18/14
I have now been in Deneba, Ethiopia for about a month! I have been teaching for three weeks and I’m finally finding my groove with the 100+ students that I have each day. I hope to learn all of their names but it is proving to be difficult. It is easy to learn the gobez (clever, smart) student’s names but I hope to know each individual in my classes. However, my main objective is to simply let them have a little fun while learning! The traditional Ethiopian classroom is very lecture oriented. Students take notes and that’s about it. We have been trained by Peace Corps to have a much more interactive classroom.
I am now called ‘teacher’ in town instead of foreinji. I am slowly making more and more friends in Deneba to spend my time with, share coffee with, and enjoy meals with. Female friends are hard to come by here since most educators are male and my friends consist of educators in my school. I do have one female English teacher who is becoming a great friend. She invited me over for coffee this week. I stopped by here house at about 2pm for coffee, having already had my lunch. As soon as I arrived I was ushered in to find a cozy spot to sit and watch world news and movies in English. I was immediately served a plate of injera with potatoes, carrots, greens, and shiro. As I worked to make the wonderful food disappear, she quickly added more potatoes, carrots, greens, and shiro! I was already approaching my limit! I worked hard to finish as much as possible since it is extremely rude in Ethiopia to leave food on your plate. I managed to finish most and finally had to stop. I was then fed buna kurs, or the snacks that are served with coffee. Buna kurs usually consists of fresh bread, popcorn, or kolo (roasted barley, chickpeas, and peanuts). As I worked on a small piece of bread and took a few pieces of popcorn, she prepared the coffee.
The process of making coffee is a ceremony in Ethiopia. Guests sit while the coffee beans are washed, roasted, ground, and finally brewed in the jebena. A jebena is a clay pitcher specifically for brewing coffee that has a round bottom. The jebena can sit directly on the hot coals in order to brew. Once the coffee is finished it is quickly served in small espresso sized coffee cups with sugar already in the bottom. Ethiopians love their sugar and are shocked when Americans ask for no sugar! Traditionally, each guest enjoys three small cups of Ethiopian goodness. We had four cups while we watched news from around the world.
Just a reminder to those who love me…my birthday is on November 7th! I am getting old in a place far from friends and family, so it may be a difficult day for me. A great way to cheer me up on this occasion would be to send me a card or package! Just a thought! 🙂 In order for it to get here in time, send it now! I know I am shameless but I really love mail! Thanks!
Heather Cundiff, PCV
P.O. Box 10
Until next time…peace!