Friday, May 21, 2010

Barbie and Foosball

Wednesday May 19, 2010

My head is searing with pain. It is burning! I got “Barbied.”

Some of the Kechene women maintain a hair salon, a second endeavor to the shop. While working at the office, I got recruited to the salon, plopped in a chair and styled. They braided the sides of my head and gave me a poof on top and HOLY MOLY are these braids tight! If I move my face I feel it in my scalp. It looks like I had some nipping and tucking done, my cheekbones are like an inch higher!
I really do like the hair, the design is beautiful and if I de-poof the top my hair falls over the braided sides with is the kind of subtly I appreciate. I have a completely new admiration for women who have their whole head braded…man oh man, are they tough!

One of the girls has taken a particular liking to me, and I to her. So afterwards, I wore my sunglasses and we paraded around trying to convince people I was a Hollywood celebrity. We had the shoeshine boys believing I was Spiderman’s girlfriend. Didn’t see myself passing for that one…but hey I’m flattered. And since I am never going to blend in, I might as well totally rock it!

But the real success of the day, however, was winning over my neighborhood bullies. There is a group of pre-pubescent and teenage boys who harmlessly taunt me on my walk home every evening. I am pretty sure I am their nightly entertainment. They usually follow me a little ways, call me “milk” and tell me they love me. They also “own” the foosball table that lives on the street corner. That is always where they are, and how they seem me when I walk by. These neighborhood foosball tables are relatively common and I see them all over Addis, but I am unsure of the exact edict. I think some are “public” and others belong to the toughest group of boys.

Well maybe I was emboldened by my hair, or the fact that I am now a celebrity, but today I turned to them and said, “You know what, lets go!”

I won only once (and there was a questionable goal involved there) and got my bum handed to me about 12,000 other times, but I put a Birr (about 7 cents) down on myself every time, and bought them all Cokes. I guess that’s the going rate for protection these days. I am not about to argue with having the neighborhood “gang” on my side, even if it was a buy-off. They really do love me now. Cliche time- If you can’t be ‘em, join ‘em!

I swear I do real work too! I have been going out to foster care daily and reading in the toddler rooms and the children ages 4-6, who now call me “Chicka Chicka.” They are really responding well, repeating animal sounds after me, as well as colors, numbers and the alphabet. But more than anything they love their time with the books. The older ones are even beginning to “trade” nicely, which I see as a big step. From experience when a child gets their hands on a toy, they usually like to own that toy until playtime is over or they can be won over with something more interesting. The fact that they will exchange books is really wonderful to see.

My Dove chocolate (yes, I brought 2 packages) just told me to “make a date with my favorite book tonight.” And since I am currently horrifically enthralled in the Twilight series and since I do everything Dove tells me, I am going to take that advice.


  1. I want to see a picture of the celebrity!

  2. You. Are. So. Awesome. I so loved this story. You realize that you are living an amazing adventure, right? You are so wise to be doing this at your age (20s?). I did the same and never regretted a second. And if you're going to be there when we are there, I would be happy to bring you books 2 and 3 of the series. I don't have book 4. It's utterly ridiculous anyway. Don't bother. Oh, and have you read Hunger Games? Love. It. Can bring that too :)