I’ve been in Adwa for six months and I walk through the town almost every day. Yet it’s still a rare event to not have children, or even teenagers and adults, yell “Money”, “Ferenji” or “China” (a lot of Chinese road builders means that any non-Ethiopian is Chinese), or just to give a really long stare. It still really drives me crazy, even when it’s done in a friendly or innocent way. I think mostly it reminds me that no matter how long I stay here I will always be an outsider.
Often adults I don’t know will greet me, in English or Tigrigna. This drives me crazy too, although it really shouldn’t. I complain about how unfriendly Toronto and western society are, but I’m a product of that society (rather an exemplary one, at that). I rather like walking down the street in anonymity, without people noticing my every move. Of course, I also like the warm greetings of the people I do know. I have one shop that I often go to, and the owner is always friendly and welcoming. Last time she invited me to have coffee in the back. It actually wasn't the best coffee, and it was a tight squeeze for three people in the tiny space behind the counter, and our conversation was limited to what we could say in my broken Tigrigna and their broken English, but still, it was nice. And now, we greet each other by name and more warmly than before.My landlady’s servant is divorced. This is not as rare as you might think. Divorced men can remarry, but women are on their own. She has one son already, and her husband has remarried. However, he led her to believe there was a potential reconciliation... She is still alone, but now she is pregnant. When the baby comes in July, she will have to stop working and go back to the village where she will live with her mother and son.