All Hail the Red, White, and ‘Que!Posted July 27, 2006 by Malina
Above: Dereje, Yosef, and Elias on the South Fork of the American
Iâ€™m a little behind hereâ€”the Ethiopians arrived what, the end of June? By now they feel like part of the family so it seems a little funny to be introducing them to yâ€™all so late, but letâ€™s see if I canâ€™t reach back into the recesses of my mind and dredge up a story or two.
Alright. First thereâ€™s Yosef and Dereje. Theyâ€™re brothers from the capitol city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. One of the guys that helped Scott with the Nile Expedition is Yosef and Dereje’s cousin. The third member of the trio is Elias, whose family hosted a dinner in Addis for Adam and Scott. Although they’ve been busy learning the ropes of All-Outdoors and getting settled in for the summer I’ve gotten to spend time with them over the past few weeks and they are always laughing, sincere, and ready to have fun.
Our first event with these guys was our little welcome party, the â€œLasagna-Que.â€ My idea was to have a BBQ, but then I got snowed under with work so we had lasagna insteadâ€”â€˜cuz letâ€™s face it, nothing says â€œWelcome to the U.Sâ€ like a plate of lasagna! At the party we met the guys and then they disappeared for a week because they went to our summer-edition Beginning Guide School. They resurfaced a week later on the 4th of July, and that night a group of us piled into an AO van and headed into town to watch the fireworks and eat burgers. Iâ€™m a local girl, and Iâ€™ve been watching the fireworks at the fairgrounds from the back of a truck for years and years, but Iâ€™ll tell you, sitting on top of an AO van with a bunch of guides and three Ethiopians was an evening Iâ€™ll never forget. There was something uniquely American about itâ€”a bunch of suntanned young people, singing country music, eating fries and whooping it up, and then in the corner, Elias speaking softly in Amharic on his cell to his wife. In a small (white white white) town like Placerville itâ€™s easy to forget the amazing richness of culture and history we enjoy here in the U.S. How cool to celebrate the 4th with folks who appreciate even more than we do the wealth and opportunity with which we are surrounded. These guys are cosmopolitan and educated; they appreciate very clearly the unprecedented abundance of this country. Our conversations about the differences between America and Africa thus far have been thought-provoking, hilarious, uncomfortable, and challenging. I am enjoying getting to know them and loving that they are here.
So the evening was really cool. The fireworks were a little sub-par this year but the company was superlative. Of course I donâ€™t speak Amharic but I like to think that as Elias watched the fireworks, surrounded by laughter and good cheer, he was describing the scene to his wife and telling her the evening was as great as I thought it was.