When I worked in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I had four local guys working with me. The oldest was Ayten, who had four last names. In Ethiopia, your name comes from your father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc. As many as you want. So, I would be Dwaine Quenton Theodore Charles. I don’t remember who my further paternal ancestors are.
We called Ayten, The General, because he was a high ranking member of the Ethiopian army. I don’t remember what he was, but he was highly regarded. He often told my boss and I, that he was the best ladder carrier we ever had. And he truly was. I loved the little guy and before we left Ethiopia to go to Turkey, he gifted us with a butchered lamb. He presented it to us in a box on a pair of dollies, and the box was still dripping blood. The thanked him profusely and donated it to our local guards.
I don’t remember how many years he worked for the US Government, but after about 20 years, he was granted a SIV (Special Immigrant Visa) from the US, so after he retired he moved to the States and found work.
A few weeks ago, I heard from my boss I had in Ethiopian, that the The General passed away. I don’t know why, but it struck me deeply as I loved this little innocent man with four last names, who was the best ladder carrier we ever had. A number of years ago, I took the picture below. He is sitting with Solomon, and just before I took the picture, Solomon said, “Ayten is my father. Hence the look on the General’s face.”
I hope all is well with his family, because he was loved by many people.
Let’s talk about memories next.