Elizabeth Bradley, Ph.D., Faculty Director, GHLI
Kebahd! Thanks to some brief tutoring in Amharic I was now able to communicate more fluently on my recent trip to Ethiopia. Most of my new words, and the language itself, are lyrical – “silematachu des bolognal” and “bet’am tiru enimesagenalen” – syllables tumbling out with the sound of a bubbling brook. I had been using these phrases to say “I am happy to be with you” and “thank you for being here” to the delight of my Ethiopian colleagues who seemed tickled that I finally could say more than “excuse me” and “thank you.”
My Amharic words also helped my sureness, as I could detect meaning in what previously had been a jumble of foreign sounds. This ability was invaluable when we met with the director of the CDC in the US Embassy and received a personal briefing on Ebola – and during my visit to Black Lion Hospital, where I saw where people suspected of having Ebola were to be placed until they could be transferred to a clinic or hospital for treatment. Later, my visit to the US Embassy where the transport system and Ethiopian policies were described went smoothly, and I felt comfortable.