Friday, January 25, 2013

Shint Bet User Levels

Western toilets are rare here. And when I do come across them, I almost prefer the shint bet (translated to 'pee room') even though most of them are just cement flooring with a hole in the middle and mud walls.  Might have something to do with the lack of good plumbing here. A shint bet will always work, a western toilet won't.

Shint Bet User Level 1

  • Knows when the shint bet is occupied. (Closed doors aren't a universal sign of an occupied bathroom apparently.)
  • Carries own toilet paper.
  • Can hit the hole for #1.
Shint Bet User Level 2

  • 'Nothing but net' for #1 and can hit the hole for #2.
  • Can, if need be, squat for the needed amount of time without getting sore thighs.
  • Doesn't mind using the shint bet at night.
 Shint Bet User Level 3
  • Can hit the hole for both uses consistently.
  •  Doesn't need a light to place feet and hit the hole at night.
  • Doesn't mind not having toilet paper.

Made it to level three last week!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Celebrating Christmas Twice


I've joined World Wise Schools, an exchange program between volunteers and teachers in the States with the goal of sharing Ethiopian culture. Thus, the video on Christmas in Ethiopia.  Expect more videos, I know some of you were really fond of the last ones.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Merry Christmas you guys!

Well, it's a little late. Here in Ethiopian, as I've explained before, we follow a different calender. Thus, in Habasha Land we celebrate January 7th. (Talk about a holiday season – American Christmas, American New Year, Habasha Christmas all in about two weeks).

Its hard to send gifts to everyone, there's not much in the like of tourist shops in Huruta and apparently the post office frowns when you try to send local coffee through the mail. So, here's a new card game at least. I give you the gift of fun.

Crazy, as my landlords call this game, is similar to Crazy 8s. Except Crazy is a lot more, well crazy. With my broken Amharic, it took me a while to understand all the rules. It doesn't help that they seem to change whether you play with more than two people (kinda like Uno does).

So, Crazy.

Setting up play:
Shuffle and deal four cards to each player. Except the dealer. The dealer gets five. The rest of the deck in placed between players.

Dealer starts by putting down card from hand. Play then continues to the left, players matching cards either by number or suit. If you can not play, you draw one card. When you have one card left, say 'crazy', as in uno. If you don't say it before the end of your turn, another player can catch you and force you to draw five cards. The hand finishes when a player gets rid of all their cards.

There are trick cards. If you play a nine with three or more players, direction reverses. If there are only two of you, nothing happens. If you play a two, the next player has to draw two. They do have the option of playing another two and forcing the next player to draw four. The ace of spades is a killer, you have to draw five.It can be played on top of the two of spades, making the next player draw seven.

Sevens are tricky. With more than two people, you can use them to skip. But you can also use them to empty your hand. A seven allows you to play all of your cards of that suit at once, but you can not use that ability and the skip one at the same time. You may not use the play all ability right after a wild.

Eights and jacks are wilds. However, you can't use them back to back to switch. For example, if you play an eight and call clubs, if the next player plays the jack of diamonds it will count as a club and not a wild. The exception to this is if it's your last card.

The person who gets rid of their cards first is the winner of that hand. The loserthen counts up the points in their hand. Most cards are worth their face value, with face cards being ten.

The ace of spades and wilds (eights and jacks) are each worth twenty five points. If you have a two in your hand, draw two cards from the deck and discard the two. It really sucks if one of your two new cards is a two - you have to draw again. Add the points of these new cards to your score.

The winner scuffles and deals another hand. Play continues until one player's score passes 101, kinda like hearts in that manner.