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An “amora” makes a habit out of taking advantage of the culture whereby one Ethiopian invites others, often strangers in their vicinity in a restaurant, to share his food. These intruders shamelessly join in, and seem to especially thrive at weddings and funerals where they can eat and drink freely to their heart’s content.

Wining, Dining Scavengers

Finally, after 55 days, the fasting period has come to an end. Lovers of raw meat are back to their normal behaviour of hosting and attending get-togethers on weekends. Many have taken up chatting and making a big deal about eating meat raw, as opposed to the latest fashion of becoming vegan, or strict vegetarians.

Others have started bragging about becoming vegan. If someone complains about any internal ailment or anything related to obesity, rest assured that vegans within earshot will start enjoying the sound of their own voices and laugh at their own jokes that will not made even feeble heads smile, let alone laugh.

However, raw meat eaters are not a bit moved by such arguments.

This kind of argument is vehemently rejected by the tall and stout Ashenafi Sime, 68, a former employee of the Science & Technology Commission and a veteran raw meat consumer.

Given the level of poverty in this country, talking about the benefits of being a vegetarian is the same as the fox which upon failing to reach the juicy grapes hanging a little too high for him, calls the grapes “sour,” Ashenafi said.

“You should know our people very well before you take their words for granted,” he said. “An Abyssinian believes that nobody would care to verify facts and figures and generally states anything that comes into his mind knowing that she can get away with it.”

Ashenafi took the argument a step further. Those who disseminate information about the disadvantages of eating raw meat could be shrewd people whose intentions are to scare off potential consumers for demand to decrease and themselves to benefit from the stabilised prices, he argued.

Meat lovers tend to consider the issue a matter of human rights. Not only do they eat whatever they have, but they also invite others to join them.

Apparently banking on this, there seems to be no shortage of loiterers around butcheries and groceries these days.

One such a fellow was encountered last week at a butchery in Addisu Gebeya, located on Gojam Road around Piazza. For a lack of space, the table had to be shared with a fellow who was already there with a half-empty glass of wine in front of him.

He offered a warm greeting, as if he was an acquaintance, and tried to engage in topical conversation. However, unsure of where this contact with a stranger could lead, his attempts were rebuffed.

When the chunk, which was supposed to weigh two kilogrammes, was served with the burning pepper sauce and all, it looked far too small. The waiter was even quizzed on her certainty that it was the correct order. It was disappointing as, indeed, it was.

For fear of the evil eye the fellow was invited to join in the meal. “Enibla,” someone said, expecting the invitation not to be taken seriously, as is often the case.

There is usually some kind of superstitious rationalising in urging people in the vicinity to share meat from the same plate, no matter who the stranger may be. Ethiopians take pride in the culture of sharing food, particularly in eating raw meat.

If a person insists that the person sitting next to him should taste at least a mouthful, then one may believe that the invitation was not altruistic. It is more likely a result of superstition, which can be diffused by eating together.

Prior to mouthing a slice, people tend to cut a small bit of meat and drop it on the floor where it is trodden into the floor in the belief that the demons resulting from the evil eye are pacified that way. While this can be hilarious to see, there was nothing to laugh about in this particular case.

The fellow joined the party and started cutting off big chunks of meat, which he devoured greedily. Even worse, the fellow did not even appreciate the gesture showed to him.

It was later learned that he was an “amora,” a nickname given to such seamless men who have made a habit out of taking advantage of the general tendency to invite others to share food with strangers.

It would have been funny, only if one could stretch one’s perception of humour that far.

This behaviour is reminiscent of that of crows or vultures who scavenge for food, instead of killing their own. Friends of nature may feel unhappy to hear these intruders called vultures or crows as the birds are social and do humans a good turn by cleaning dead, rotten bodies.

However, these intruders have no shame in making themselves a part of a group. They seem to thrive at wedding ceremonies and funeral lunches where they are free to eat and drink to their heart’s content.

BY Girma Feyissa




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