post People We Forget

May 8th, 2008

Filed under: Photo Stories — Admassu @ 21:41

I am going through my digital video archive.

Digital imaging is a blessing, you can take them and archive them easily and cheaply. Digital imaging is a curse, you don’t know what you have archived because you have too much of it within a small period of time. So, coincidentally, while I was going through my material, I came across a certain occasion I took part back in Addis some years ago . For it was just a short video episode, I started to scroll through each frame to help me recall the atmosphere of that occasion.


I remember, an old friend of mine took me to a “Mels” ceremony. Apart from this friend, I knew no one there. But, as you might well know, that is not a big problem in Addis; you know one means you can take part and know everyone afterwards.

While looking through each frame of this video, I have recalled faces that I have already forgotten a long time ago. This laughing friendly people on my screen also wouldn’t remember seeing me before. It raises somehow a strange feeling to know that we meet people in many special occasions but the memory that usually remains in our mind will only be the occasion it self.


The area was somewhere in Addis where one rarely sees huge villas. Though the only room of that house was so small, we were around fifty in there. One could easily see that the parents of the married girl were leading a life that couldn’t be described as luxurious. But they surely did their best in organizing that occasion for their daughter.


The decorative color of brown and yellow from the Tella and the house made Tej in bottles with rolled paper caps accompanied by plenty of traditional food from the best kitchen of the bride’s mother were superb. The small room was filled with the odor of the food and the served beverage. Elderly neighbors were quite jolly in their attitude, they must have been busy tasting the drink earlier.


All the neighbors of the family were present. Every body seemed to know each other for a life time sharing all social happening of that area. The hosts, the father and the mother, were visibly nervous and caring. I still remember them going to each guest encouraging to drink, to eat and to dance Iskista.


After the festive eating and drinking ceremony, the place was cleared to make space for the young guests to dance. They have been insisting on that right after everybody was clearly satisfied with the eating and drinking part. Soon all guests were standing and clapping their hands while waiting for their turn to be in the center and do some incredible stuff with their shoulder.


I remember also doing my part and showing my Iskista talent once or twice. There was no hired professional singer so all were involved in singing; some with descent voice and some far from the right key note. The ceremony had taken quite a long time. We have been there till around 2 a.m. and that was quite late for that area.


Now, going through this video frame by frame, I remember those faces. I don’t know their names and none of them asked me for mine. The faded memory is once again alive through these unreal images and I am surprisingly nostalgic. Who were these people? Where are they now? What are they doing? Is that girl still married?…. So many questions without answers.

Digital imaging, curse or blessing?…….

1 Comment »

  1. I am writing a fiction novel about a young woman who teaches English in Ethiopia. Can I use your experience here as a reference for a part of my story? I won’t take your words, just factual information.

    Comment by Jennifer — 27. December 2008 @ 22:09

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