3 easy steps to make friends with every Ethiopian

1. Many of the side street vendors sell clothing, and President Obama is a popular motif. There are 2 main shirts, one says “Obama, Yes we can, Obama written in Amharic,” the other is nearly identical only it says “I have a dream,” instead of “yes we can.” I don’t know if they mixed up their famous African-Americans and their famous quotes or if it is an intended poignant statement of the struggles and triumphs of African Americans. Either way, step 1, buy the shirt.

2. Wear the shirt.

3. Wave to everyone that yells, “yeah obama” or “yes we can” at you. It’s nicer than them yelling “you”. Some of the kids in town now just call me “Obama” even when I am not wearing the shirt. They love President Obama. I think I am going to use his namesake and popularity for my own mayoral campaign. I joke that I am the mayor-elect of Jimma.

I have actually had the shirt for a little while; I got it when the other students were still here. The shirts at that time were all over the place, everybody was selling them. Neddy wanted one, and I thought it wouldn’t be a problem to find one for him. The town was dry on Obama shirts for some reason. I took him to a couple places and finally found a shirt for him. He was impressed with my shopping fortitude, it took us a little while to find the dang shirt, and my eagle-eye to spot the shirts in non-descript piles of clothes. I credit my shopping fortitude and stamina to my mom and Tracey and my eagle-eye to rock hunting with my dad as a kid.

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