Take a look at a video of traffic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!
Meskel Square is a very large square where festivals and other activities are often held. Even though it’s a very large and busy intersection, there are no traffic lights! In fact, there’s only one set of traffic lights in the entire city of 3.8 million people! Ironically, they’re right in front of the Ministry of Roads and Transportation.
I know I’d never want to try to learn to drive in this controlled chaos, but it seems to work for them! – Well… most of the time.
Interested in learning to cook Ethiopian food? Or want to learn more about what Ethiopian food is like or the common ingredients they use?
Here’s a great site!
They have videos showing how to make the most common Ethiopian foods (and a few special ones), as well as explanations of Amharic food terminology and common customs regarding food. Many of the videos are in Amharic, but they have English translations or notes that scroll along the bottom or appear periodically through the video. We’ve tried a few of the recipes, and they’re spot on!
The Coffee Ceremony
There is this tradition steeped in history that has come to North America. In many households, the wafting smell of sweet, heart-pumping caffeine can be smelled! Upon the opening of the eyes, one stammers out of their room and struggles to place a coffee filter in the coffee maker and then proceeds to attempt to keep the eyes open as one gathers the water from the sink to pour in. Nearby, a kitchen island is found to sit until the coffee is finished brewing: a whole five minutes later! Or for those who are more eager for their high-end coffee, a jaunt in their vehicle quickly finds them in the drive-thru of Starbucks!
This is not the way of Ethiopian Coffee! The process of making coffee called ‘bunna (boo-na)’ in the Amharic language, is consumed at ANY time of the day including into the evening! The process can take up to an hour before one receives their aroma of freshly brewed coffee. The job of making the
coffee almost always falls to the hostess of the household, much of the time the young women. The process begins with the laying down of an Ethiopian coloured mat to place everything on top in the extreme traditional or celebratory ceremonies! Sometimes this will even include scented grass. The green coffee beans are then roasted. This is done in the presence of the family and/or company.
As the beans are roasted over a portable burner; conversation is had amongst those gathered. This ceremony is one that becomes an act of investing in one another. Upon the completion of the roasting of the beans, the grinding begins. With a mortar and pestle like action, the beans are ground by hand. The smooth powder is then taken and placed in the coffee pot called a ‘jebena’, filled with water and placed back on the burner. As the pot warms up, the hostess will take a fan and with it waft the aroma towards the guests and/or family. The fan is also used to keep the flame burning! The coffee is cooled and reheated about three times acting as a filter process.
Typically, snack foods will be served as the coffee is being prepared. This could include popcorn seasoned with sugar and/or peanuts. As the coffee is ready, the hostess will pour the coffee from the bunna pot about a foot above tiny decorative china teacups. This is something that takes great skill to do! Traditionally, the first cup will be given to the honored guest or the oldest individual in the family.
Upon coming with Blessing the Children to Ethiopia, this is indeed something you will see for yourself in person! It is always a fun time had by all!