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Expecting Aguagudom (ኣጓጉዶም):A Play Act (VII)

Setting: Misyam, Seraye (Zoba Debub), Eritrea 


Character’s Name Sobriquet Party/Affiliation
Yemane Baliho  Wedi-Baliho Selfi-Swa
Mohamed Birhan Imam Wedi-Zemzem Selfi-Alamel
Abdela A Zerom Wed-Inharish Selfi-Gebil
Amanuel ReDae Wedi-Tiebe Selfi-L’fnti
Tirhas Kindya Trishi (Gual ‘Gbitan) Demit Eritrea
Mohammed I Abdella Wed-Sudan Hizb Aljemahir
Zewdi Andemariam Gual Bashay ??????????
Najib A Khasay Hargets Selfi-Abaeke
Dr. Basilios Angesom Gnogno Selfi-BuN
Osmano Ibrahimo YaAsina Selfi-Shahi
Melake Gebrekidan Dem-Draru Selfi-Ts’ray
Dr. Semira OuraFura Hakim Snni Selfi-Halib

Scene: Enda Gual Bashay (አንዳ ጓል ባሻይ)  
 
( Characters hanging out at Enda Gual Bashay and engaged in a heated causerie which went thusly…  )

Gual Bashay: (calling one of her maids, in a piping voice). Listen, do you know it is getting late. I expect that dinner is ready!
 
Maid: I am so sorry Adey (mom) Gual Bashay ( ኣደይ ጓል ባሻይ). I am well behind. The fresh Injera (እንጀራ) you asked me to bake is not yet ready.
 
Gual Bashay: What seems to be the problem? I told you to start early and now you are saying it is not ready. What were you doing in the kitchen? Gossiping?  Or lollygagging? Probably sank in a reverie??
 
Maid: Oh,no! That is not so, Adey(Mom) Gual Bashay (ኣደይ ጓል ባሻይ). The reason dinner is not ready is because I couldn’t get the fire for the Megogo (መጎጎ)  — Kiln —  (traditional cooking oven )– to start. Can’t you see my eyes still watering from the smoke of the firewood.
 
Gual Bashay: So, you are saying the Injera is not baked, prepared and ready!
 
Maid: Not only the Injera is not ready, I couldn’t get the fire for the Megogo to start or catch. I have used a whole box of matches, but to no avail. You can see the smoke coming out of the kitchen.
 
Wedi-Baliho: What is this you two are saying? How hard is it to start a fire for the Megogo. Listen, Maid. You just need to fan it hard enough and the fire will catch in no time. Don’t you know how to use a fan (መሽረፈት) ??
 
Gual Bashay: If not that, why can’t she crouch and blow into the fire wood. Blowing  Eouf,Eouf,Eouf  (ኡፍ: ኡፍ: ኡፍ) That will surely expedite the fire to catch and ignite instantly!
 
Hargets: Maybe your maid needs to check if the firewood is dry. You know those damp (not dry) firewood never catch fire!
 
Wed-Sudan: Tell your maid to pour some kerosene (ላምባ) and douse the firewood with it. That should do the trick.
 
Trishi Gual ‘Gibtan: Oh, please. Save us all the trouble and ask your maid to go to the bakery and buy some  bread loaves (ባኒ). By the way, the word Bani is derived from the Latin word Pani.
 
Hargets: I thought that “you considered using Latin words to be passé “.
 
Wedi-Baliho: Haw! Haw! Haw! Ha! Ha!…. that is precisely what she  previously  said. But, you may need to remember that Trishi is nothing if not the avatar of utter contradictions!  She wears her religion on her sleeve  while displaying remorselessly these vindictive tendencies.  

Wed-Inharish: ‘The avatar of utter contradictions’, how so true. I think the depiction of Trishi as such fits her to a tee !

Wedi-Zemzem: How about forgetting about this Ingera thing and skip dinner altogether. It may do us a whole lot of good if all of us go on a diet!
 
Gual Bashay: Say, that you have checked for the litter of kittens before you started the fire, Maid. You know those stray cats and how they put and hide their kittens inside the bottom hole of a Megogo (መጎጎ). You know, if they were there, they would definitely retard the fire.
 
Dem-Draru: Gual Bashay, you wouldn’t have faced all these trouble, if you had adopted and followed our model of  starting a fire to bake Injera (እንጀራ).
 
Hakim Snni: What ‘Model’ is that, Dem-Draru???
 
Dem-Draru: The model that we developed in the Eritrean field (ሜዳ ኤርትራ). We have honed the skills of how to start and ignite a fire with the most minimal emission of smoke. You know, both from a military and other considerations, it was important for our survival.
 
Wed-Inharish. You think that all Eritreans should emulate that model, if not adopt it altogether?
 
Dem-Draru: That has been what we have tried to TEACH the Eritrean people. Alas, though, some Eritreans do not want to learn. As they say, old habits die hard!
 
Hargets: Say, Dem-Draru, that you know how to start a fire and also bake Injera ?
 
Dem-Draru: Which world do you live in, Hargets? Haven’t you heard about me. All the stories that tell how, I, Dem-Draru, unlike “The Others” in the Eritrean field, was known for preparing food for me and my comrades.
 
Wedi-Zemzem: Dem-Draru, you tell stories! You are repeating those myths that were prevalent in the Gedli (ገድሊ) days. And, now you are trying to change the Gedli Myth to an urban legend.
 
Hakim Snni: What I know about you Dem-Draru is that others prepared your food. If that was not possible, you always had your Sugar Solution (ማይ ሽኮር).
 
Dr. Basilios: Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho!….. If Dem-Draru wasn’t such an apt sobriquet, I would have nicknamed you Shikor-Sinqu (ሽኮር ስንቁ).
 
Wedi-Tiebe: All your Ajewjew (ዓጀውጀው) — blathering — has become staggeringly boring.Frankly,it is getting kind of stale. Why don’t you save yourself and the poor maid a lot of trouble by following my ingenious solution. Just ask the maid to get the firewood and some embers from Enda adey Aabay (አንዳ ኣደይ ዓባይ). By the way, it makes eminent sense to ask your maid to also cadge (beg) for some dough (ብሑቕ). Their dough is far superior to what you have here. Then, we will have our Injera and eat it too ! 

Gual Bashay: Oh, no. No!  No!  No!  Never!  Please, don’t even mention them. We don’t want to get anything from that house. I mean, nothing whatsoever!
 
Wed-Sudan: Who is this ‘Adey Aabay’????
 
Dr. Basilios: Adey Aabay is the old woman that lives next door. She is the mother of Weyni (ወይኒ).
 
Gual Bashay: Yeah, that Weyni. She is running the house of Enda Adey Aabay these days!

Wedi-Tiebe: Instead of making us wait for this Injera to be baked which is taking forever, if you ask me, the easiest and the most cost effective way out of this dilemma is to get all the stuff from Enda Adey Aabay. That way, the fire will start fast and the Injera will be baked in no time. Moreover, we don’t have to put up with all the smoke coming from the kitchen. That is the only sensible option we have here!
 
Gual Bashay: What part of ‘we don’t want anything from Enda Adey Aabay’ don’t you understand, Wedi-Tiebe?

Wed-Inharish: No begging from Enda Adey Aabay, for crying out loud

Wedi-Zemzem: The best evidence against Wedi-Tiebe is Wedi-Tiebe. I think his obsession with Enda adey Aabay has more to it than meets the eye. I was wondering if his sobriquet Wedi-Tiebe (ወዲ ትዕበ) has something to do with (ኣደይ ዓባይ). Hmm…Hmm ..Hm…
 
Wedi-Tiebe: Look at what this Hgdefite (ህግደፋዊ) cadre is saying. I am here trying to save you from unnecessarily wasting your energies by trying to enlist the help of the good neighbors of Gual Bashay. Enda Adey Abay have a vested interest in our happiness. And, this way we can all have our Injera dinner sooner than later. The likes of Wedi-Zemzem love to do things “self-reliantly”, but I assure you that dawn will break first before your Injera dinner is ready.

Wed-Sudan: And, what makes you so sure that Enda Adey Aabay have enough firewood, dough and embers to spare and give some to Gual Bashay. Are you even sure that they have enough of the material for themselves? Last time  I walked by, her kids do not seem like they were well taken care of? And here you are trying to get them to help Gual Bashay when they obviously look like they can use some help. 

Dr. Basilios: Never mind the ‘theories’ that Wedi-Tiebe unremittingly propounds. WE are telling him, unequivocally, that we like tend to our own affairs, be it baking an Injera or starting a fire. That much has been made abundantly clear. So, instead of regurgitating all this time worn and hackneyed bromides, why doesn’t he state honestly his PERSONAL  stake in this issue. What is in it for Wedi-Tiebe?? Why does he want to see to it that WEYNI and Adey Aabay have a skin in Enda Gual Bashay?  That is, why he fervently wants to see Enda Adey Aabay with her daughter WEYNI involved in our own affairs????
 
Gual Bashay: Wedi-Tiebe needs to realize whether it is ‘self-reliance’ or whatever, we like to take care of our own issues. As the old saw goes, Kab Seb Zideli Kem SaEni Yibeli (ካብ ሰብ ዝደሊ ከም ሳአንይ ይበሊ) — (Those who wait and expect others to take care of them wear down like a shoe).We want nothing less than the freedom of charting our own path.
 
Hargets: Yeah, tell him Gual Bashay. Was this Wedi-Tiebe dude in deep slumber or What?  Does he take us for Chopped liver, for crying out loud ???  Someone has to check his noggin ! 
 
(Smoke, woody smoke, emanating from the kitchen area permeates the room)
 
Wed-Inharish: Let us watch TV. Can you turn on the TV, Welet Bashay???
 
(Gual Bashay picks up the remote and clicks it once and Weyane TV comes on. Her maid calls Gual Bashay and she leaves for the kitchen. Immediately, a certain song by a singer named Wedi-Mihrey (ወዲ ምህረይ) was on the TV with the following lyrics…. )

ወፈር ተበገስ ከምዚ ሕጂ ሳይንሳዊ መብረቕታ ኣውርደሎም   ( Start your campaign and unleash a scientific blitzkrieg on them)

ውግአ ብሱል  ከአለት ኣማዕብልካ ብስልትታትካ  ማአረዓዶም     (After developing your battle competency, intimidate them with your tactics)

መርኣያ መንነትካ ቁልጡፍ ውዳበኻ: ኣብ ድፎዓም ዓሊል: ዓሊል: ዓሊል  (The manifestation of your identity is your quick maneuvers. In their trenches, ululate! ululate! )  

መልሓሶም ይሕየኹ ፀላትኻ  ( Let your enemies eat their words)

ኣብ ድፎዓም ዓሊል: ዓሊል: ዓሊል  ( in their trenches, ululate!  howl!  wail! ) 

መልሓሶም ይሕየኹ ፀላትኻ ( Let your enemies eat their words) 

ኣብ ድፎዓም ዓሊል: ዓሊል: ዓሊል ( in their trenches, ululate!  howl!  wail! )  

መልሓሶም ይሕየኹ ፀላትኻ (let your enemies eat their words)
 
(Wedi-Tiebe along with two patrons of Enda Gual Bashay was on the dancing floor, dancing to their hearts contents)
 
Wed-Inharish: Listen, Gnogno, Dr. Basilios, what does this Mebreqta (መብረቕታ) word mean in their Tigrigna??
 
Dr. Basilios: At first I thought it meant Lightning (በርቂ), but then how can one have an unscientific lightning? So, I think they mean blitzkrieg. Still, though, I can’t help but wonder if there is an unscientific blitzkrieg??? Or for that matter, a scientific blitzkrieg???
 
Hargets: Haw! Haw! Haw! Ho! Ho! Ho!…. Them Weyanes, oh!  In their benighted views, they thought that a mere addition of the word ‘Science’ to whatever they asserted or claimed will automatically give it more weight.
 
(Meanwhile, Wedi-Tiebe and his two dancing mates were circling the dance floor, shaking their shoulders as if they were caught in a fit. The song crescendoed and the shaking of the shoulders has become ever more pronounced)
 
Wedi-Tiebe: ( looking like he was in a trance, shaking his head sideways  and  Uttering guttural sounds )
 
Trishi Gual ‘Gbitan: What is the matter with Wedi-Tiebe???
 
Wedi-Baliho: Well, it looks like his Zar (ቆለ) has taken over him or he is possessed by ‘it’.

YaAsina: Zar (Qole)?  What is Zar(Qole) ??? Yes, what is it ???

Hakim SnniZar (Qole) is an epiphenomenon of some other mental distress caused by some unfulfilled desire or want. If someone wants something so badly and this want, desire goes unfulfilled, it causes some mental distress or anguish  which could result in psychosis. The Zar (Qole) is an epiphenomenon or a manifestation of that very mental disorder.

Wedi-Zemzem: You are saying that that Zar (Qole) is a secondary phenomenon accompanying a Psychosis or caused by it.

Wed-Inharish: So, can I say that Epiphenomenalism in psychology is a doctrine that states that mental processes are the epiphenomena of brain processes.

Hargets: Sure, you can think of it as a secondary phenomenon accompanying another phenomenon and caused by it. But, please DO NOT assume that epiphenomenal ‘events’ exist “outside the world of cause and effect’ and “they are in the realm of fantasy as that child trying to pull the moon by aligning her marbles”. That is missing, misunderstanding the concept of epiphenomenon entirely.

Wed-Sudan: And, what is Wedi-Tiebe saying, Dr. Basilios???
 
Dr. Basilios: I know that his Dr. Basilios or their words are in Amharic. But, there are also some words that I can’t understand and I don’t know what language it is.
 
Wed-Inharish: Those words that you didn’t understand, Dr. Basilios, are in Kunama.

Wed-Inharish: How does the Kunama words fit in what we are discussing???

Dr. Basilios: (Cogitiating deeply)…., Aha! I know. I know! The Kunamas used to rule part of Seraye (ሰራየ) in the past and that should explain the Kunama words coming from Wedi-Tiebe or from Wedi-Tiebe’s Zar or Qole (ቆለ), to be precise.

Wedi-Zemzem: Look at one of Wedi-Tiebe’s dancing mates. He keeps saying: ” Des Aalegn (ደሳለኝ), Des Aalegn (ደሳለኝ), Des Aalegn  (ደሳለኝ). What is up with that ???

Hakim Snni: Well, you should remember there are Eritreans and then there are ‘Eritreans’. The latter being the sons or daughters of an Amhara father or mother. Legally speaking they are Eritreans, but when push come to shove, those Amhara genes take over. That is what you are seeing with the dude who is mumbling the word Des Aalegn (ደሳለኝ).

Hargets: Oh, my! Listen to the other dancing mate of Wedi-Tiebe. He keeps repeating these words: Goma (ጎማ),  SaEni (ሳአንይ), Shida (ሽዳ). What is that about??

Dem-Draru: The poor soul that is shouting those words was with us for a short period of time in Selfi-Natsnet  (ሰልፊ ናጽነት). When he was given a shida (ሽዳ) sandal ( Plastic sandal) to wear, he didn’t like it at all. He didn’t tell us why and he left us and went back to Ethiopia. I guess he probably didn’t realize that he was allergic to plastic and here he is still bemoaning the plastic sandal, Shida.

Wedi-Baliho: You are saying that he has subconsciously associated the discomfort he experienced in the Eritrean field with the Eritrean revolution rather than recognizing that he is/was ALLERGIC to plastic which has absolutely nothing to do with the Eritrean field/revolution or Gedli.

Hargets: Well, that has become part of his MEMORIES, however false those MEMORIES might have been!

(Hakim Snni takes off her glasses and wipes her eyes. The smoke from the kitchen has become thicker. She asks Gual Bashay to change the TV channel. ERE-TV (English) comes on and the anchor reads the following:)

Students called on to upgrade their awareness of the law and contribute towards preventing crimes. On March 8, 2011, Maj. Yohannes Mengisteab, the head of the Anseba region police department, called on students to upgrade their awareness regarding the law and contribute towards prevention of crime so as to compliment the efforts being made to nurture discipline and cultural identity among the youth.”

“In a meeting with students of the St. Joseph and Keren Secondary schools, Maj. Yohaness said that the primary duty of the police force is to maintain peace and security, prevent crimes and to present crimes before the law. He called on the public to be aware of criminal acts and provide the police with adequate and relevant information. The students on their part said that the meeting was helpful in increasing their awareness regarding the law and called for more regulation on drivers and traffic laws.”

Wed-Sudan: Since when crime has become a major issue in Eritrea that they have to hold a meeting with Secondary School students?

YaAsina: There is more to this meeting than the mere pretence of “upgrading students awareness of crime”.

Wed-Inharish: I don’t really get it. What crime are they talking about? I cannot wrap my mind around this claim that crime has become such a problem amid the Eritrean high school students.

Hargets: I guess drug problems, gangs, teen age pregnancy, truancy and all the social ills that is rampant in other societies has become a major issue in Eritrea’s high schools. Or, so they want us to believe.

Wedi-Zemzem: This is a smokescreen. There is more to the meeting than the mere facade of upgrading awareness of crime.

Dr.Basilios (raptly watching the TV): Hmmm…Hmm…Hmmm…. This is indeed a case of clearing the water canals before the coming of the flood (ውሒዝ  ከይመጸ መንግዲ ውሒዝ ምጽራግ አዩ:: ::). Else, these young students are probably among the most crime-free high school students in the world. If I were to hazard a conjecture, they are there to see and check if the ” tinder is dry” or not. I assume that it is not lost to you the importance of a dry tinder to start a ……….!

Wedi-Baliho: ( sank in deep reflection and soliloquizing) He was a seventh grade student. The year was 1969. Yeah, that year when Wedi-Baliho along with the students of Atzie Dawit Secondary School, in Keren, went on a strike. They demanded that the teaching of Amharic be abolished. They later on demanded that all Amhara should leave Eritrea. When Keren’s power to be called for a meeting with the students, the venue was in Atzie Dawit’s soccer field. He recalled that he was among the first to arrive and how much his friends were engaged in fine tuning their demands and how they should be presented.

When the meeting of the students with the leaders of Keren’s leaders started, a speech was delivered by the administrator of Senhit Province (ኣውራጃ ሰንሒት), Ato Embaye Gebreamlakh (አቶ አምባየ  ገብረኣምላኽ) in which he responded to the students demands by stating a common saw which was: (ተጽግበንይ ቕጭኣ  ኣብ  መቕሎኣ  አንከላ  ይፈልጣ::) — I can tell (know) a bread that will satiate me when it is still being baked in the baking grill–.

Wedi-Baliho ended his recollections and wondered loudly and hoped the Injera that Gual Bashay’s maid was trying to bake is making some progress. After all, he was getting HUNGRY……!

Next: Act (IIX)   

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