Ethiopian Home Ground Hospitality

November 26, 2015
Beyond the Orphanage

On her most recent trip to Ethiopia to visit Beyond the Orphanage, photographer Kerry Pryor shares some of her photographs with us. She says there’s nothing better than Ethiopian hospitality and we’d have to agree.

When was the last time you dropped in for a cuppa?

One of my favourite things when I visit the children and families of Beyond the Orphanage is when social worker Martha and I visit the children in their homes.

We are invited into each home warmly and Martha will have a chat to whoever is home.

By now I’m usually just sitting quietly in the room taking everything in. Once we are all settled I bring out my camera.

Raw coffee beans are washed, laid out on a big metal dish and put over a fire to dry and roast and the beautiful coffee aroma fills the room.

I watch the ritual unfold and take photos as women purpose around their homes bringing out their best cups and saucers.

On my most recent visit, I met a new family, Ejigu and his guardian.

Ejugu’s guardian had afternoon tea waiting for him, beetroot and potato with the local injeera bread. Or course there was a plate for me as well. I’ve become well versed at eating and photographing at the same time.

It’s a hectic situation because as I am seeing so many images unfold in front of me I’m also very present in the person’s home. Observing and partaking at the same time.2

Grinding coffee is usually done outside in a mortar and pestle. The house stills and people leave the room to grind the coffee.

The ground up coffee is brought back in a clay coffee pot with water and put over hot coals to brew and come to the boil.

The conversation continues and I listen, not necessarily understanding words but watching body language tells me all I need to know for now.

I keep taking photos, the coffee is poured, I put my camera down, but just in my lap, so it’s never too far away, and enjoy the fresh flavours. Everyone makes their coffee differently and so they all taste a little differently. Compared to the ginormous cups I pour myself at home this is served in a dainty cup like a Chinese tea cup. This is a particularly good brew.

I love looking around the homes and seeing what the most treasured possessions are. Family photographs usually. This makes me smile.

3

Three dainty cups later the pot is empty and although I am made to feel so welcome that I want to stay longer, I have to push on to the next house where a similar scene will unfold.

As Martha and I walk on we chat a bit about the family and she lets me in on a little of Eijru’s history.

It turns out his Mother and Father used to live next door to the wonderful lady who has just made me coffee. His mother was fantastic friends with her and she never had children of her own, so when both of Eijru’s parents died she took him in and is raising him herself.

Her love, smile and laugh are contagious.

4

Next Steps

Share Tweet Donate