Meet Mr. Bean


How Do I accurately describe my host father? He is calm, gentle and loving. I used to think of him as an all knowing, perfect reincarnation of Buddha (Until he said some mildly offensive things about Judaism). Regardless, he has a big heart. When he speaks in Amharic, it is always quiet and solemn. He looks up to God and thanks him. He compliments everyone he knows and he hates to say anything bad about anything. However, a different side of him comes out when he speaks English. He goes from being a quiet observer to a loud exclaimer. His accent is a hilarious mixture of a loud German and Gandhi.

He is Mr. Bean and I love him.

  • When I’m playing with the dogs on our compound: 

    Michael there is place for MAN. And there is place for  (pause) DOG!

  • When he hears I did something at the kindergarten or with kids: 

    Michael! You are GENTLE man!

  • Everyday when we drink coffee: 

    COFFEE! It is GOOD

  • When Jon goes on a bike ride or makes food: 

    Jon! He is (pause) FREE MAN.

  • When we were building a clay oven (with Ben Hawkins) and He and I disagreed on the structure: 

    MICHAEL you are LAZY and NOT RIGHT. Ben is (pause) SMART man.

  • If I’m doing anything remotely considered work on a weekend:

    MICHAEL! Take REHST. Work is not good TODAY.

  • Again, working on a Sunday: 

    Today it is REHST DAY. WORK it is for MAHN – DAY!

  • If I’m on my front porch, shoeless: 

    Barefoot is NOT GOOD. FOR HELZ (health)

  • If I say something new in Amharic: 


  • On his way out of the compound: 

    I go to FOREST AREA. There is (pause) WORK today in my forest area!

  • When jon says a joke: 

    JON. He is FUNNY MAN! He is FREE MAN!

  •  Every other day: 

    How is KAR-LEE. She is very SMART woman.

  • When we are discussing politics or the simple fact that Alemua hates being here and prefers the capital city: 

    NO NO. THIS IS NOT RIGHT. (waving finger) SHE IS LIAR WOMAN.

  • Shortly thereafter: 

    KAFFA. It is best country It is GREEN COUNTRY!!!!

  • When it’s been raining for several days: 

    RAIN. It is Best. Mud, it makes me HAPPY!!!!

  • When we are at dinner, talking about the school work and how Mesfin has helped me so much: 

    Mesfin. He is STRONG man. He is best MAN!

  •  At the Dinner Table: 

    This is fresh food. It is ORGANIC!

  • When I tell him I don’t want to eat meat or that I don’t really like it:  

    Michael! WHAT IS ZIS?! FRESH MEAT. Why Not EAT. Freash meat it is GOOD!


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