What an experience! We all sat in a large room, adjoined by Ethiopian families with children in all sizes. The small tables were like woven baskets with beautiful designs and a round, wooden table top.
Before eating, a waiter came by with an ingenious tin jug of water, soap and a basin that catches the waste water. He offered this to each of us to wash our hands. An important move since the entire meal is eaten with the right hand.
A large round platter of food was placed on each small table - serving 3 or 4 people. We each received injera, a very thin rolled up ‘bread’ that looks exactly like a tea towel, and is just as soft and pliable. You use your right hand to pull off a piece and then you use the injera to pick up a little bit of food.
- minced beef with capers;
- Gomen Kitfo - local cabbage with cottage cheese
- zemamujet (cheese with cabbage)
- kocho (bread wrapped in banana leaf)
- gored gored (beef)
- yellow peas mashed with meat
Much of it was very spicy, other things were smooth and mild. I think I tried them all… And I did need my lemon flavoured Ambo to put out a fire once in awhile…
While we ate, young men and women played interesting instruments on a stage and danced… and danced… and danced. I don’t know how they kept going all night. Using head and shoulder movements, they kicked up a storm showing us traditional dances, some with spears, from around Ethiopia, including this bizarre head twirling dance that makes you sick just watching it. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmyf__yc5ZQ
After eating, we all washed our hands again and were served coffee that was prepared in the same ceremony as I described a few days ago - the beans roasted right there and ground by hand with a pestle. It was served with fresh pop corn and plenty of incense - the smell of coffee mingled with that of the frankincense sprinkled liberally on glowing coals in small stone pots on each table.
A fabulous, rich experience. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by kind, smiling Ethiopians and such hospitable hosts here.