When I was a little kid in Aswa, Ethiopia, my best friend was Tiberh, which means “gives light”. This girl was my best friend for a long time. My parents and her parents were friends. We went to the same school, and we were also in the same class. We chatted, played, and studied together. Sometimes we went to the river to swim with other friends. We had so much fun together.
One day when I was about 12 years old, my friend and I planned to steal one big glass of honey and one whole loaf of bread, ambasha in my language, from her home to give to our friends. She was living with her grandmam, and after her grandmam left the house, we stole on full big glass of honey and a whole loaf of fresh-made ambasha. We hid what we stole under the case where her grandmam put the other ambasha. Her grandmam came back after about two hours, but we had forgotten to pick up what we had hidden. Her grandmam found what we had hidden and called both of us. We saw her laughing. We didn’t understand, but when we saw her holding the ambasha and honey, we looked at each other but didn’t talk. She asked who did it. We couldn’t lie. We just told her that we did it. Her grandmam was a very good woman. She told us to sit in front of her. She was laughing again at what we did. Finally she said, “Girls, you do not have to steal to give to your friends. You could ask me if you need it. I do not want you to do it next time.” After that we felt ashamed and said sorry. We got a good lesson for that kind and wise grandmam. I still have a picture in my mind of that kindness and motherliness when she was laughing when she was giving advice.
My best friend is married and has three kids. She is living in Addis Ababa. The last time I met her was in 2005 in a grocery story. Our friendship at this time is not as close as when we were kids, but in my mind still I have the good and bad unforgettable memories we had together.
Elizabeth Gebremedhin, Ethiopia