This is where we grew up, in 17th Street in Mekelle, Ethiopia. Our street’s church was a really peaceful place. I used to go there when I was little. It was always really quiet but I could hear the birds singing and the people singing to the Lord. I felt free and happy when I was there. I miss that feeling. People don’t go there to argue but to thank God or beg for help. There is no place like it in the whole wide world; it’s just really amazing. In the holidays there used to be a little school where they taught us kids the Ethiopian alphabets and how to pray. It was next to the church. It was only 3 birr to go there. My friend, my brother and me used to wag it in the morning tea break. I miss those times.
All my family was so close; we even lived in the same street. Being close to my family was the best thing ever: it taught us kids to love family. I grew up being loved and loving my neighbours and others. Now that my cousins, uncles and aunties are older, I feel like I have missed out on a lot of life with them. New baby cousins are born and it seems like they are growing up really fast without me being there, which makes me feel bad because when I go back they won’t know me. They all care about each other a lot; I just love them all.
My uncle was the strongest man in our street and he worked in a garage with my other uncles. Young boys were scared of him, even though they knew he was a great person. When boys saw me walking they would say to each other, “Do you know, she’s Haylezgi’s niece?” They respected me and my cousins for being his niece; they were scared of him so they didn’t want to be mean to me. I remember there used to be a café and a dairy next to the garage.
We had a restaurant and it was near the garage. I remember taking lunch for my uncles. Our restaurant was part of our house, and it had two doors. One for customers to come in, and one for a shared area with our neighbours. We had a bed, couch, and TV like normal houses but the customers would sit on the couch to have their meal. Me and my brother would spend the day with my other aunties or at a friend’s house, and at night we would come back to sleep. My sister usually helped my mom with the restaurant.
I miss my street a lot. There’s nothing like it in the world for me. These memories I will never forget because they are the most important thing for me. They say there’s no place like home: it’s true. I love my childhood, the times I spent with my family and friends. I will surely go back to find my peace. I will go back to find my peace.
My name is Danait Asfaw. I am 15 years old and I am from Ethiopia. I like dancing, playing soccer and singing.