What do you think would probably be the feeling, if we exchange the 250.000 people of the African city Jimma with the 25.000 of Molde for a period of a month?
By MESAY MOGES MENEBO (text & photos)
I would except to see amusement, ecstasy, confusion, shock, chaos, madness and more.
If you start living their life there and they start living your life here? Would you adapt or deteriorate? Sketch it in your realms of fantasy, and wander with me between the two worlds of my hometown Jimma (Ethiopia) and my schooltown Molde (Norway).
One thing for sure you are gonna miss is the housing standards. How much money you have in your pocket determines the size, type and quality of your house. It is very common to watch small budget huts and graceful mansions side by side.
Molde may miss electricity for a single hour in a year for the purpose of energy saving or to commemorate Thomas Alva Edison’s invention. But Edison is almost an icon in Jimma, being remembered every day. If you are an Internet addict, you may be the one to really suffer: Wi-fi is a luxury for personal residential houses. While bathing, make sure to have a towel nearby in case the water disappears when your body is covered in soap.
You would make me laugh too loud if you ask about bus schedules. Get ready to wake up early so that you will have a better chance of catching a seat on public taxis, which have no time-plan at all.
Horse carts would be your good alternative as a short-cut and secondary route. If your pocket is too powerful, a three wheel vehicle can take you anywhere. It is the privilege of the few, to own personal cars. Sometimes you will have to appreciate your legs and simply walk, which also serves as an excellent excuse for arriving late.
No forks and knives, you will just have to use your hands to roll the injera, which is a typical pancake and the centerpiece staple food eaten with stews. Don’t get surprised if somebody around the dining table comes up to you, during a meal, stripping off a piece of injera, wrapped around some stews and then tries to put it into your mouth. That is just an act of friendship and love which they call gursha.
It is thirteen months of sunshine over there. No ice to skate. Not mountainous plateau to hike. Contrary to popular belief, running is not a recreational sport that many people enjoy. Don not expect finding any artificially layered playing fields at some kilometers gap to enjoy playing soccer. Hmm, then what? Call friends; choose a cafe to sit and enjoy your drinks while chatting. That is how you refresh yourself.
Getting timely and quality service from public services requires you to have a little patience. Don’t hope of getting tissue culture tests and deep medical investigations early in health institutions, as long as wide-spectrum antibiotics are always there for an easy use. Even for the medications you buy, have in mind, they have a 20 percent probability of being fake.
Social life and religious activities
Oh, you wish to leave your house unlocked and go out. That is not wise. Indeed, you need to have barking and biting dogs ready at the gate of your house to give an intruder a reason not to invest too much effort on robbing you.
It does not matter how far you live away from your nearby neighbors, you are always invited and should be part of a village coffee ceremony. The long and four stages of coffee serving session allows you and your neighbors enough time to chat about hot and new headlines. Take into consideration that next time it will be your turn to host the event. Hmm, maybe you have badly missed your individualistic life. Collectivism has conquered most part of the activities. It is the life philosophy here, from the little iqub gathering where groups of neighbors, colleagues or friends support each other financially up to idir which takes care of mourning and funerals
«Does cars in Molde really have a horn?» I once asked myself, being amazed of the cars, no matter what; always go in synergy with the tranquility of the city. Believe me, this calmness and order are the big things you are going to miss. The atmosphere has so many noisy melodies in it in the other world: car horns, dogs barking, loud speaker sounds coming out from churches and mosques, and takes away your concentration.
One very prominent part you should adapt to probably would be the spiritual life. The churches and the mosques are the ones to find no place to sit in Friday’s and Sunday’s, not the bars, in case that surprises you.
Hold on to the feeling you have felt so far. But, it is even better to experience it!