Aberdeen University medical student Lucy Singh shares her first experiences of Ethiopia…
This is my first time in Ethiopia; a unique and fascinating place unlike anywhere I have been before. It is a place expanding every day, yet maintaining it’s traditions and culture in a way that perfectly complements the ever growing cities and towns. It’s a place where you can be in a cafe on a busy main road with traffic zooming past whilst you enjoy your traditional coffee ceremony – complete with incense, popcorn and incredible coffee brewed over coals in a traditional clay pot.
Having been here in Bahir Dar for two weeks now, I am beginning to find my feet. It is a very friendly and welcoming place, with locals who encourage you to try out your new words in Amharic on them (often a source of amusement for those who actually do speak Amharic). Having come here from Nairobi, Bahir Dar seems relaxed, although there is always plenty going on and the streets are busy with blue bajajs ready to take you to where you need to be.
I have found an area to bond over with new people I meet. At first when I introduced myself, I was perplexed at the laughter and cries of ‘Dinknesh’ that ensued. My name is Lucy, which is ‘Dinknesh’ in Amharic. Lucy/Dinknesh was the name given to the first discovered human, who was found in Ethiopia. Her bones are now kept in a museum in Addis Ababa. So whilst people do seem very amused that my parents gave me an ‘Ethiopian name’, it has proved to be a good point of conversation – and another Amharic word to add to my small (but growing) vocabulary.