The Coffee Ceremony Presentation

(this is a total rehash of FB, but I want to remember it so I’m summarizing it here.)

So, in Selam’s class kids can do a “share” during morning meeting if they want to.  They have to run their share by the teacher first, and it has to be important and it has to use descriptive language. The other rule is no toys.

Selam really wanted to do something about Ethiopia. I’ve suggested MANY things that I thought would fit the bill and that she had quite a bit to say about. But she resisted.

She wanted to bring her buna set (coffee ceremony set) which is, in fact, a toy. It’s a child-sized replica that I got on etsy. She loves it but it is a toy and she doesn’t really remember enough about coffee ceremony to do good descriptions.

But she wanted it.

So I wrote the teacher and made the pitch. The teacher said she could approve it because it sounded like more of a cultural item than a toy, especially since I agreed to stay for it and bring the toy home right away.

So, all this in place, we practiced talking about the set.

Here’s her first dialogue: “Ethiopia is a beautiful country because I was born there and I am beautiful. Everyone from Ethiopia is beautiful. And there is coffee there, too. A lot of coffee. I think people who drink coffee are beautiful.”

Clearly we’re going for descriptive, but the idea is to describe the object, not herself or people who drink coffee, however beautiful they might be.

So this morning she tried again and came up with this: “Coffee is beautiful because it’s from Ethiopia and Ethiopia is beautiful.”

Okay, we’re a little closer.

One of the other parents said it might be fun to teach the children a word from Amharic.  I thought so, too. So I asked her,

“Do you remember what the word for friend is?”

Now remember, I have a big emotional attachment to her use of this word.

Obviously I put too much into it.

Her response?


Clearly the word for friendship has been eclipsed by the word for coffee pot.  Not only am I failing in my role as encourager of all things Ethiopian, I clearly have a coffee freak on my hand. I don’t drink the stuff.

But at this rate, I may need to buy stock in *$. (I know, I know, I would be better off supporting a small locally owned coffee shop in my purchase of invisible coffee. )

Stay tuned folks, the presentation is tomorrow.


3 thoughts on “The Coffee Ceremony Presentation

  1. Just found your blog through a comment you made on Jan Edmiston’s blog. My wife and I are PC(USA) pastors and our daughter, who was born in Ethiopia, joined our family in 2010.

    I’ve enjoyed reading some of your posts and resonated with them as well (especially your adoption FAQ). Do you have a link to the etsy coffee ceremony set? Are daughter loves buna and would really enjoy playing with it.


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