Ethiopia sure does have a lot of holidays. About 15 or so major holidays per year. Not a bad deal. In just the last few weeks we have had the Ethiopian New Year, Eid ul-Fitr (Muslim holiday, marking the end of Ramadan) and Meskel (Orthodox holiday, celebrating when St. Helena allegedly found the true cross of Jesus).
My wife Ruth and I have been especially grateful for all of these holidays because it allows us some time to be together and to relax at home. As in most of the world – if not all – holidays are also a wonderful excuse to eat too much food. For the new year, we had some pretty wonderful Ethiopian feasts. Both in Ruth’s family’s house and my family’s house. (You must be saying: “Dan, you’re family is in the US, how did you have an Ethiopian feast at their house?” Well, I guess I should clarify. The feast was in my Ethiopian family’s house, Frew and Frehiwot. I’m pretty lucky to have two families!). The food that stands out in the Ethiopian New Year feast is definitely Doro Wot. This is the famous Ethiopian chicken dish loved by almost everyone who has ever tried it. It is a spicy onion sauce that has chicken pieces and spiced butter in it as well. It is cooked for the better part of the day and you can’t stop at one serving of this.
Meskel, which was just on Monday, is another reason to feast if you know anyone from the Gurage tripe in Ethiopia. They are famous for another Ethiopian dish called Kitfo, which is ground beef mixed with different spices and spiced butter and served along side of some different kinds of cheese and greens. It is traditionally eaten raw, but can also be served partially cooked or fully cooked. My favorite is raw, but this year I didn’t want to risk it, as I was already a bit sick. So, I went for the next step, called leb leb. It’s very lightly cooked, flash fried basically. Dr. Frew gives it the stamp of approval, so I figure it’s safe enough. Anyway, we had some of that at my Ethiopian mom’s family’s house. We ate till we couldn’t take another bite, it was delicious. I brought a bit of an American flavor in the form of chocolate chip cookies. But the kitfo definitely won the show.
Aside from all the holidays, things are going well. We are still doing research as to what kinds of businesses would be best for us to open and hire the women with. But we have a few ideas and are confident that something will work out within the next few months. For now we will continue to support the women and children that we have already helped. About two weeks ago we handed out some basic supplies to some of the women. This included wheat, cooking oil, soap, toilet paper, etc.
Please stay tuned for new developments. And feel free to leave some comments on here.