Monday was the Virgin Mary’s birthday (‘Ginbot Mariam’) according to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. So what better way to celebrate than to close the college for the afternoon and have a party in the bus garage. The festivities involved much food and drink and dancing. Every so often the music would stop and announcements would be made over the P.A. letting us know about the various pledges that people had made that day towards next year’s party. It was like a party to celebrate next year’s party, and everyone was expected to promise something, like a bottle of ouzo, 100 birr or some food. We said we would contribute something, but it would have to remain a surprise for now. As we left at 8:00 the religious celebration was continuing into the night with much enthusiasm and devotion.