Amayu’s House

Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to go with a group of expat women to Amayu’s house. Amayu is a sweet older woman who lives in a large mud house in Addis, and invites expats and tourists into her home to observe the traditional ways of cooking.



20140121-DSC_0722She and her family made dabo (bread) over the fire by wrapping the dough in leaves inside a pan, and lighting dung on the pan’s cover to bake it evenly.



We all got a chance to make injera, the spongy, yeasty pancake that seems to be eaten at almost every meal. 20140121-DSC_0482



The family also sells beautiful scarves. They wrapped us all up and I took everyone’s portrait (and someone took mine!). 20140121-DSC_0384-2

20140121-DSC_0017Amayu’s grandkids were freakin’ adorable. 20140121-DSC_0799



Before eating, members of the family brought water for us to wash our hands. Food here is shared on a big piece of injera; you rip off a bit of the injera and dip it in the food. 20140121-DSC_0403-2

The food was delicious, of course. 20140121-DSC_0415-2


So was the coffee. 20140121-DSC_0515-220140121-DSC_0444-220140121-DSC_0532-220140121-DSC_0634

The day was absolutely the most fun I’ve had yet here in Addis. Not only was Amayu and her family just incredibly warm and welcoming, but I also met fantastic women from all over the world. But the highlight, for me, was that the group’s organizer asked me to be their official photographer for the event. I took over 1,000 photos and experimented with different portrait poses, various qualities and directions of natural light, and tried my best to stay in manual mode the whole time. I’ve been taking a photography class online (actually, it’s just an e-book and an awesome group of women on Clickin’ Moms) and it’s already pushed me a lot in just a couple of weeks. Someone remarked today after looking at my LCD screen, “those are beautiful photos… I suppose with a nice camera like that, though, it’s pretty easy to get great shots.” I smiled and said, “you know, I really just enjoy it so much.” I didn’t mention how incredibly frustrating it can be, or how I still feel so limited in the images I can achieve with my camera. I certainly didn’t say that I have terrible gear envy and that I don’t consider my camera or my lens to be very fancy at all. The truth is that I do love it. My heart was positively bursting with joy all day. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to live in this city, and have time to experience things like this. 20140121-DSC_0075 20140121-DSC_0150 20140121-DSC_0203

I had never been away from Willa for more than a few hours, so I was really nervous about leaving her with the nanny for the whole morning. I was the first one to leave Amayu’s. But Willa was fine. She drank the milk I’d pumped for her–her first bottle in over seven months. She even napped without me there, something she’s been refusing to do lately. How quickly they grow up and become independent–as though I needed another reminder!

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