One day I got an email. It was a journalist form a local magazine about the events, interesting places and people in Szczecin. And they thought that I am one of the inhabitants with an interesting story to tell. Who told them about me? I still don’t know. Below is the output of the interview by Michalina Wasilewska and a very brief photo session by a talented young photographer- Bartosz Matenko.
While going through my pictures from Ethiopia I ran across a couple of folders I forgot about. There are still a few places I’d like to show you, cause they were a great part of my social life in Addis Ababa.
In the close distance of Immigration Department, there is a truly wonderful restaurant situated. Unfortunately, soon it’s location will be changed. The area has a new height regulations and protests and petitions didn’t manage to safe this G+1 oasis from future demolition. As all stories have two sides of a medal there is also a positive site of this situation as well. In a few months the restaurant will be opened in a redesigned storage of the MULU Plaza- the building we have designed. Honestly, I can not imagine a better “magnet” for the area.
A name of the restaurant- SISHU comes from the owner’s name, a super friendly lady who always takes care of international, cozy atmosphere. The former residential house was redesigned and now consists of a few differentiated, spacious rooms, which can easily hold different types of meetings. The kitchen, OH! The kitchen is fantastic! It was relocated outside, as the old one could not manage the amount of guests. I’m not sure if the way it’s organized or possibility to look inside or the smells that come from it make me fall in love with it. I want it BACK!
My favourite: mouth-watering vegetable antipasti sandwich with home made sauce. Mmmmmniam.
Just like tourists in Tunesia buy carpets, in Jerusalem- gold, in Panama- hats and Cuba- cigars, in Ethiopia they usually purchase coffee and leather products. How often, however, is a carpet or a hat custom made? Definitely not as often and easily as Jackets in Abyssinia! I know it sounds like a commercial but I know what I’m talking about :)
TSEGA is a tiny leather workshop behind an even smaller shop, packed with hundreds of jackets and bags. Maybe designing ordering 5 jackets and 6 bags doesn’t make me an expert but out of 4 workshops I had the most positive experience there. Jamal- the head designer, as well as Tsion and Meron- two lovely selling ladies, understood my ideas and suggestions easily and were always willing to bargain (I could not deal without a small price fight;). All in all I really suggest doing a custom made products in Adds Ababa.
Weird. That’s how I felt when my former pupil brought a magazine to me with the words: “Niezły lans!” (slang; Nice promotion!) ;). I was invited for an interview on Monday being sure that weeks will pass till sth. will be published. How surprise I was to have it in my hands only 3 days later.
The online version:
Where was Venus born? Who produces the best chocolate in the world? Where does Colubus come from? And WHERE was COFFEE discovered? This are a few of many questions different nations argue about. As I consider Ethiopia to be my second home, I am eager to give a credit of inventing coffee to this African country.
The Ethiopian legend surrounding the discovery of the coffee bean revolves around
a goatherd called Kaldi, who noticed one day that his goats behave different. They were much more active- running, jumping almost dancing after nibbling red berries from a certain bush. He tried them as well and felt more energetic himself. Surprised, he went to an Islamic holy man in a nearby monastery to share his discovery. The priest didn’t like the idea of magic berries and threw them into the fire, only to realize that the enticing aroma makes him more awake. Soon the roasted beans, ground up, and dissolved in hot water is believed to be the first cup of coffee. The monks committed to drinking the brew every night to help them stay awake during night prayers.
The similarity of Kaldi’s Coffee and Starbucks is not accidental. The owner, an Ethiopian lady is one of the Diaspora members- people who used to live abroad for many years. Starbucks is the quickest developing company in the world, which buys Ethiopian coffee for many years. The lady, used to American Starbucks, started a process to bring the chain to Ethiopia. When her efforts failed she opened Kaldi’s Cafe, with some Ethiopian accents … and really good breakfast :) Right now there are over 10 Kaldi’s coffee shops in Addis Ababa.
Every country has a face everyone recognizes- Great Britain has Queen Elizabeth II, Poland- John Paul II, Tibet- Dalai Lama, Jamaica- Bob Marley, the USA- Justin Bieber ;) Ethiopia’s undeniable symbol of the country is Heile Gebrselassie. Smiling from huge advertisements of major Ethiopian and International companies (Ambo, Adidas, Johnnie Walker, Ethiopian Airlines) this little and extremely famous athlete is a true pride and a role model in Abyssinia. For a long- distance champion, Olimpic gold and record holder Heile is an incredible easy- going, open- minded, friendly guy. He is also a successful entrepreneur who grew up in a rural, poor area and walked a long way to his status. He actually fits perfectly a profile of the Ethiopians I’ve been interviewing lately for a publication I am working on. Therefore I had a pleasure to meet Heile personally and spend a couple of hours with this fascinating personality. If you want to try your luck and meet him- check Bole Parisienne, where he gets macchiato almost every day :)