Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Melkam "Alicha" Millenium

Here is to a prosperous ... thousand more years.

I happened to miss the DC hoopla last weekend, and I even skipped to Ohio for the week. I spent yesterday evening having a quiet Ethiopian meal with a friend. It wasn't even a matter of choice... Columbus Habesh people (and there are a lot of them!) must be celebrating from home... which is, if we go by tradition, the right way to celebrate. If the Ethiopian restaurants ever go quieter than they were yesterday, they'll need to shut down the businesses.

I called home, and my mom told me Addis Ababans are calling it the Alicha (yellow) Millennium. Apparently the price of berbere (red pepper) has rocketed to something like 1300ETB per 17Kg (not sure why i got the rate in 17kg units - must be some Ethiopian thing I'm missing). To help me with comparison she said it was 14ETB per 17kg during Haile Selassie, a hundred something per the same unit during Dergue, and 400+ETB during EPRDF. Finally now it's simply not affordable to have Qey woT for the average folks in Ethiopia.

The jokes go:

Man, after getting his shoes shined : how much is it?
Listro : 8.50 Birr.
Man : Indae, mindin new? Beberbere new indae yeTeregkew?

Daughter calling from the US: Ima, what should I send you for new year?
Mother : Ya balefew kelakulish berbere and hulet lastick isti melisesh lakilign?

My mom also reports EPRDF (hmm ... we're a 'multi party' system, maybe i should say 'the government') has been rationing electricity in most areas, but places like Churchill (aka Chercher) Avenue (what's on Churchill?) have been getting 24/7 service. I guess consumption has gone up beyond the city's capacity(doing what, and where?). So, according to my mom, it's also become the Chelema Millennium.

I guess everybody in my family, myself included, are not very interested in this "Millennium " business - to remind people of the obvious, the 'new' 1000 years started last year. I wasn't that interested in the ferenj 2000 either. But it's interesting/amusing to see what's been going on. Really :)

So for real ... melkam addis amet!

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