Hannukah in Gondar

Originally posted on 24/2/2013 at http://www.meketauk.wordpress.com/

Some of our sponsored families enjoyed their very own form of Chanukah celebration thanks to Meketa sponsorship and supporters. Hila Bram, the co-founder of Meketa, was in Gondar and was party to the Kindu team shopping expedition to buy food and household gifts for the festivities.

Hila Bram presents a chicken to one of the Meketa beneficiaries.

Hila Bram presents a chicken to one of the Meketa beneficiaries.

We decided to tailor the Chanukah gift to be a present that will be most beneficial to the Ethiopian Jewish community, providing a mixture of luxuries and basic food items to last for a little while.

The logistics of providing the Meketa and Kindu seasonal gifts required more extensive planning than it would do in Britain. It is a lot harder to plan ahead when there aren’t fridges to store food. The first stop was the bank to pick up a big bundle of old, dirty banknotes – no paying by credit card possible. Next, we headed down to the market in Arada. Each stall just sold a small number of items so we visited a lot of different stalls to gather everything that was needed.

The age-old question of ‘why does the chicken cross the road?’ became rephrased as ‘having bought 40 live chickens how do you take them home?’. Transportation occurred in a bajaj (motorised rickshaw) with forty live chickens squeezed onto the back shelf and the floor so that they didn’t dirty the seats, and a member of staff squashed alongside to empty them at the other end. On arrival at the Kindu office, all the staff helped carry the said chickens inside. They needed cornmeal and water to keep them healthy and fed until the families came in to pick them up. By the time they left, the chickens had deposited excrement on the office floor in thanks for the grain provided them. A few hours later the staff carried forty 15-kilo bags of tef (a native Ethiopian grain) into the office as well.

The following day, the forty families all came to the Kindu centre to collect their Chanukah gifts. The delight with which the gifts were received made the two days of effort well worth it. Families were pleased to receive a live chicken, tef to last them a month, onions, lentils, oil, as well as the rare delicacies of coffee and sugar, and some new pots and dishes for cooking and storing, and other items. Then the next problem was how you get all of these home – no supermarket trolleys and so you need at least two people to carry home the goodies!!The food they received would be sufficient for the family to last well beyond a single meal, and provide extras for weeks to come. Warmest thanks to our supporters for your kind donations, enabling Meketa to provide this food!