A Web Site For The Young Ethiopian Professional.

    Volume II   Issue III

Saturday July 4 2020

Life Dairies


To:          Yetinayet
From:      Adey
Subject:   To Familia or not to Familia

Dearest Yetinayet-

Thanks for the reminder re: MS word. Sorry about the delay in writing you but our accounting department was holding my paycheck hostage until I turned in my time sheets. Now that that situation has been resolved, I can turn all my attention to you! "Lesson three from Female Flirting 101?" - perhaps there was a slight exaggeration... Maybe our dialogue about family should start with a discussion of the abesha male ego...

Enough of that...I want this to be a positive dialogue between the sexes on this issue. Now that we are even, let's make a pledge not to fall into male/female bashing or stereotypes. Agreed?

Back to the topic... family...

As I am about to celebrate the seventh anniversary of my 21st birthday, the issue of family has come up perhaps a little more than I would generally like. I have been bombarded with some subtle and some not-so-subtle hints that I should get married and start a family. All the usual suspects are present -- my mother consistently points out how the birth of my sister and me were the happiest days of her life and how lij be lijinet new. My aunts are not quite as subtle, parading us at weddings and funerals alike to eligible abesha bachelors that have passed the critical checklist.

  1. Enat ena abatu man nachew?
  2. 2.
  3. Mindenew yemiseraw?
  4. 3.
  5. Bet alew?

(How would you do rate?)

The pressure to get married and have children has also come from some unsuspected sources. My friends have suggested that I get married so that they can be a meze or so that they can finally play the rendition of moushiraye that they have worked out on the saxophone.

I am not sure that marriage is in the cards for me (I know it seems silly but the ouji board told me so) and I am comfortable with that. I have given this issue some serious thought though and I have come to the conclusion that I want to adopt. The idea has been received coldly (to put it mildly) and I am not sure why. Any insights?

Adey Abeba

P.S. I hope that the SELEDA gods will indulge me as I digress from the intended topic but my curiosity is killing me. What is it that you do? You seem to be able to reply to my emails before I finish clicking the send button. I have the sneaking suspicion that you write your e-mail in advance...

To:          Adey
From:      Yetinayet
Subject:   On this corner... the Earthworm

Dear Adey,

Let me say first, how happy I am that you were able to liberate your paycheck. It is funny how words say things. In an Ethiopian enterprise, the accounting department may have been called the "genzeb yaZ", thereby putting you in the automatic position of having to get your blood and sweat ("deme woz") un"masyaz"ed. So, "freeing your blood and sweat from the seizers of money" makes the whole process you just went through an epic and heroic achievement. And you thought it was just a bureaucratic hassle...!

"Family" they said. "I", I said, "am nothing but an early thirtyish wonde-latE. I have none of the three gulechas, you know - neither house, nor wife, nor child. What could I have to say about that subject?"

But I suppose I need not tell you the endless pressure, the threat to break my qurCmCmit, the harassing SELEDA goons following me around ... ya hulu le lij lij yemineger tarik new.

Which, I suppose is a good segway into the topic at hand.

I hear what you are saying. I can perhaps go one up on your, "being paraded around" story and tell you of potential names being dropped in this bachelor's direction after, mind you, AFTER, family members of the potential bride had been approached.

Most people who have been married for about twenty or so years tell you that they would rate compatibility and communication higher than "love". Asked if they consider "love" to be a necessary pre-condition, they would tell you - with some dismissive gusto, I might add, that they do not, and that it is really some childish emotionalism, and that it "rasu gizEwun Tebqo ymeTal" . That last phrase has this strange effect of bringing to mind a wearied middle aged couple sitting down for a lunch of shuro weT and qateNa, barely speaking to each other because they know everything about each other, and being interrupted by this call - "Godin, godin! Fqr iyemeTa new, asalfu! Ante sewuyE zor bel, fqr saybelash madres alebN! Godin, godin!!"

Something insidious has happened to the "professional class", though. Economic interdependence has been taken away from us as one of the major reasons for getting married, and staying married. Being independent means you are less willing to tolerate the occasional jerkism displayed every so often by every human being at one time or another. Why bother with that worobela, or that neznaza when you can live in peace? You can pay for your own mortgage, your car note, your trips to California or London, invest your money and be financially set for the rest of your life.

I suppose you hit the nail on the head when you suggested that you may just adopt and raise a child. Having and raising children seems to me the single most important reason left for marriage. I say go for it - but with the lmena to please not tell your family my name, location, serial number etc... I have to say though that being a parent is the most selfish and at the same time the most selfless thing anyone can do. A child is the opportunity for a parent to be the person they never were and always wanted to be, so in a sense it is another crack at making yourself perfect. Some say it is the only chance at immortality, but anyone who has seen a frazzled mother will very quickly throw the immortality thing out the window. At the same time, imagining just how hard it is to live the marathon life of a parent, I tend to question the sanity of anyone who would want a child, especially of the woizero/rit. Why would a woman who spends three quarters of a year carrying the most uncomfortable of loads and suffering morning sickness and irrational bouts of incomprehensible desires want to have any child let alone more?

Some people say that however sophisticated we may all think we are, the urge to form a family is really beyond our control. Those with the more logical, or scientific bent, will point to the biological need to propagate the species as being the main force behind it, thereby putting us humans in the same class as tumbleweed and earthworms. Those with the more, shall we say, ethereal, sense say we are basically spiritual beings who absolutely need companionship for reasons other than biological - drawing in my mind pictures of beams of light joining together a la Hollywood special effects. Unfortunately, in many cases religion tells us that we are always engaged in an epic battle between earthworm and light beams. Myself, I root for the earthworm...

PS to your PS: I pretend to be an engineer at one of the companies making cars, so at some point in the exhaustive process of deciding whether a particular drilled hole needs to be 0.05 or 0.10 millimeters in diameter, I get the chance to check on you....



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