Chinese Friends…

On Friday we were out enjoying bayanatu and injera at Elsa’s Restaurant when another couple of “ferenji” (foreigners) came in. It is very rare to see any other foreigners in Abi Adi so we soon got chatting. Here is Lee Pin and Bruce Lee (not his real name but that’s what he asked us to call him) from Xian in China.

There are quite a significant number of Chinese workers now in Ethiopia, working on government projects such as road construction and telecommunications. There is also a hydro-electric project nearby which meant a lot of Chinese workers have been seen around Abi Adi in the past. Indeed, when we go out walking or shopping, a lot of the children shout out “China China” to us. We are hoping to let every child in the town know over the next year that we are not, in fact, from China.

Our new friends were over in Abi Adi for the day checking mobile mast signals before heading back to their home in Mekelle, where they said there are over 100 Chinese workers at the moment working on various projects. I don’t think they have taken to Ethiopian food though, avoiding injera at all costs. Bruce Lee is here for another 12 months or more and says every night he counts the days before he can go back home to Xian. Lee Ping should be home for Chinese New Year though.

After the restaurant we went next door to the pool house for a couple of games of pool… (4 birr a game – 16 pence.) Pool houses are very popular here – maybe 1 in 10 shops are pool houses – and you can often see groups of young men hanging out at any time. Bruce Lee played well, winning both times, saying he plays a lot of pool in China as well. Maybe we will see them in Mekelle next time for Chinese food…

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