Name: Yemsrach T.
Country of Origin: Ethiopia
When I was younger, I lived in Ethiopia for almost 3 years with my little sister and little brother at my grand-parents house. My aunt and uncle, and three cousins lived with us. But me, my siblings and my cousin shared a room in the “top house”, while my aunt and uncle live in the “bottom house”.
When we came home from school, we would all stay at the cafe that my grandparents owned and play in the back yard. One of our favorite games was dodge-ball, although we never called it that. We used a ball made of socks, stuffed into other socks, and again stuffed into more socks. It was soft.
In the same complex as the cafe, there was a typing school, and salon (all owned by my grandparents) and an big garden/ backyard. There was a huge room built for us while I was there for us to study in (which had a leaky roof, and one day our cousin went through all our school bags throwing everything onto the floor (he was looking for a pen 🙂 … it rained that night and every book and notebook we had was soaked, you couldn’t read a thing.. its was horrible and hilarious). Sadly, that mischievous cousin of ours passed away when he was ten (he would have been a 19 year old if is he was alive) from stomach cancer caused by internal bleeding? (no one told us kids the full story)
After 12 years, I got to go back to my home. And on the third day (after getting over my intense jet lag) I went to the cafe, salon, typing school, study room complex. It wasn’t the same.
The once glamourous cafe, that had had “hip” music flowing through it, was old and had fallen apart. The typing school was replaced by a pool house (run by a cousin’s bf). And the salon was on its way out.
And the back yard, and our old study room? GONE. The land had been seized by the government. It was now a high-rise apt complex. A model of democracy and growth.
I miss the days when a ball made of old socks made me so happy.