by Emma Lochery
This is the first post in an ongoing series featuring artworks from and about the Horn of Africa region. We will start with two short stories by Emma Lochery, both read at our blog launch party this past weekend. Click on the sound boxes below each story title to hear Emma’s recitation. The stories are an excerpt of letters Emma wrote home from Addis Ababa in 2008 and 2009. They are dedicated to her neighbours in Arat Kilo.
Happy New Year – by TEXT MESSAGE
(An overview of SMS greetings Ethiopian government style)
First, I must wish you a very happy New Year…yes, last month Ethiopians welcomed the year 2002. We were as usual bombarded with the text messages from various government ministries and other companies…I always save these text messages that come on holidays.
First, there are the more straightforward reminders –
Quality education for all!
Quality education is every one’s job!
Happy new year
Ministry of Education
NEW YEAR, NEW LIFE!
TEST FOR HIV, TEST WITH YOUR PARTNER,
GET YOUR CHILDREN TESTED AND BRIGHTEN THE FUTURE OF YOUR
FAMILY. FREE TESTING.
HAPPY NEW YEAR.AAHAPCO
And here is one from an event earlier this year a lot of you missed, I am betting –
“Your child will grow strong & healthy when only breast milk is given from the first hour of life until 6 months.” FMOH [Fed Min of Health], World Health Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 Aug 2009
Then also for New Year, the evil tax evaders among us got a subtle nudge –
Wish all a happy and prosperous new year.
“Compliance to law including the laws governing tax & customs is basis for a sustainable growth”.
Melaku Fanta (ERCA) [Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority]
And for the 10th anniversary of Ethiopian Telecommunications, we got free SMS for 24 hours:
Ginbot 20 (Eth. Renaissance) and the 10th Anniversary of Mobile (telecom renaissance), ETC grants its subscribers to use free local SMS for 24 hrs. ETC
We also get kind wishes that make us feel like business tycoons –
Ethiopian cargo wishes you happy easter with the new exciting business opportunities of MD 11 air craft capacity. EAL CEO, Girma Wake
[EAL = Ethiopian Airlines]
And ones like this that come out of the blue:
“Go to <www.fsc.gov.et> or dial 992 to get information about cases in the Federal Supreme Court.”
All in all, I don’t feel alone on the holidays with all this bombarding me…