Photo Essay - Addis' Businesses - MediaETHIOPIA - August 2002
The name of many of Addis Ababa's businesses tell a lot of stories about their owners, their aspirations and the city's unique business styles. Just a few years ago, this clinic called "Almata Clinic" was opened right across the street from Bambis Supermarket and by chance one of our team members had met a nurse who works there and a talk about why it was named "Almata" served as inspiration for this edition of photo essay. We were told that the doctor who started the clinic had some of his medical training in Almata, Kazakhstan. Those were the Mengistu years when some of our students went to places where no Ethiopian had set his/her foot before. Medical doctors were trained in Almata, Havana, Odessa, Kiev, Leipzig, and engineers trained in Sofia, Bucharest, etc. "Anyone with ESLCE score of 2.5 or less went to places like that," suggested a team member. For the record, however, the team denounces his remarks. He must be from St. Joe. 
A few hours in Somali tera, Merkato and parts of Piazza last Saturday did not disappoint us in our pursuit to locate some of the funkiest names and businesses in town.  The "Shoa Joteni and Kerenbola Works" [pool for those of you who have forgotten for Joteni, who knows?] was our favorite spot. As we were taking pictures, we were invited inside for a cup of tea and we spent some quality time with the owner and workers busy fixing some of the worst pool tables we had seen in town. London Shoe Store is located in Merkato. Our attempt to tease the clerks to tell us how the name was acquired was met once again with invitation for tea. We love our job! A cousin of the owner studying in London was the inspiration, we were told. He has been studying for almost 15 years! What he is studying only God knows! A talkative clerk gave us the scoop. Somehow, we felt he was making up some of it.....But who cares? We were having fun. 

We couldn't figure out the deal with 2 MF Video and Music Store. Suggestions from a team member what MF stands for were turned down....actually censored....bad language...Sydney Cafe was also a pleasant stop over at the Arada business center. What was the inspiration here? Obviously Sydney Olympics. The "Delala" place really cracked us up. Note the cellular number on the billboard for the "delala" business and you will know what we are talking about. Really, think about it. Who needs a cellular phone (called mobile in our beloved city-Addis) more than the thousands of delalas in Addis Ababa who make business possible? Electra shop in Piazza was a notable stop-over in Piazza. "Haven't you watched Baywatch as in Carmen Electra?" said the beautiful clerk surprised why we asked about the name. She said she goes to Unity College - the one at Gerji. That figures, we thought quietly to our selves [she must have had 2.0 or less on ESLCE].

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