These are a few of (an Ethiopian’s) favorite things

Some insights into life in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia:

I’ve seen exactly one street food during my time here, it’s fruit, delicious, and called “cactus”. It is roughly mango-shaped with spike-esque skin (akin perhaps to a gourd). The ritual for eating cactus is terrific. Street vendors have a pile of cactus on a matt or in a bucket, and a knife. I first went to eat cactus with my field manager, Teame. The vendor skinned it, and held out one for Teame to eat. They then mmediately skinned another, and held it out for me to eat. They are fleshy, but a bit crunchy. It’s possible to slowly eat one, at say apple speed, but also possible to chomp it down. They then sliced another, held it out for Teame, sliced another, held it out for me. Oh, I figured, Teame must have asked for two for each of us. NOPE. Turns out, the protocol is, the vendor continues to slice them and hold them out for you until you cut them off. I stopped at 4; I think Teame might have managed 7.

Pool is an incredibly popular activity. A typical block on the main street here in Wukro probably has at least 4 or 5. They also have different rules. Instead of our 8-ball pool, all of the balls are arranged against the side of the table. The first person tries to sink the 1-ball. If they miss, the other person tries to sink the same ball. You keep going until someone sinks it, and they get one point. Then, you proceed to the 2-ball; whoever sinks it gets two points. And on and on you go.

Juice is serious business here. It’s very common post-lunch, or in the evening to go and get juice, which is necessarily made fresh on the spot. There are three main flavors: mango, avocado, and mango/avocado (simply known as “spris”, or “mix”). Spris also refers to a hot beverage, a tea-coffee mix.

More observations to come!

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One Response to These are a few of (an Ethiopian’s) favorite things

  1. lrb5 says:

    That’s Cactus aka Prickly Pear or Nopal (in Mexico). Tasty!

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