A little more than a month after Kim and I first arrived at site, Ethiopians celebrated their New Year. We were both a little sad: no one really invited us to their homes. Since then, we’ve been trying to make up for lost time on holidays, and Kim put together quite the program for us yesterday for Fassika, or Ethiopian Easter. Celeste and Sile warned us about their busy Fassika last year, but we poo-pooed their warnings and forged ahead. As usual, we couldn’t really understand what we were getting ourselves into.
The day, in statistics:
Homes visited: 14
Homes we thought we’d visit when we started off the day: 7
Spontaneous invitations politely declined: 4
The usual elements of an Ethiopian Easter celebration are bread (dabo) with a pressed barley beverage called coka, doro wot (chicken and egg stew) served on injera, sometimes alongside other kinds of meat, and, of course, buna. While we didn’t have all of these things at every house (we’re not THAT good), we ate:
8 pieces of bread
6 servings of doro wot (including 3 hard boiled eggs)
5 other kinds of meat
11 glasses of coka
4 cups of buna
1 glass of birz (honey, yeast, and water)
1 bottled soft drink
Our first two houses weren’t on our original list: first, Kim was waiting for me and was pulled into a neighboring house, where we ended up eating tibs (which, surprisingly enough, included zucchini) and drinking buna. When we set off to find our intended destination, the home of one of my coworkers, we got lost, and ended up at one of my other coworkers’ homes, where we ate doro wot as we waited.
Although I ate a lot of delicious food during the day, there were times when all I wanted to do was vomit. Most of the time, this was from pure overconsumption. One time, this was because I ate a big scoop of kitfo (ground, seasoned raw meat) by accident, thinking, in the dim lighting, that it was doro wot. I was not a fan.
Having learned their lesson from last year, Celeste and Sile RSVP’d to one house, went there for lunch, and got on with their days. Maybe next year I’ll do a more moderate Fassika. Maybe I’ll cook a chicken in my home and force feed it to my guests. But who knows - maybe by this time next year, the acid reflux will have faded and we’ll start out the day thinking, “Seven houses? Piece of cake!”
For another helping of Fassika, check out Kim’s recap of our experience.