You might recall that in one of my early posts at entwinedlives.com, I wrote that when I got an email from Berhane Mogese not long after learning in March 2011 that the long-lost Tesfagiorgis Wondimagegnehu was alive and well and living in Addis Ababa, I knew for sure that I had to return to Ethiopia for the first time in almost 50 years. I’d met Berhane my first week in Addis Ababa in September 1964 – at the Peace Corps office, where he was working over the summer, if I recall correctly. He wasn’t a student of mine at Tafari Makonnen School, but he dropped by my home several times on visits to Addis. A charming, extremely bright, well-spoken young man, Berhane, who was always good company and a welcome guest, clearly had a bright future ahead.
After returning from the United States, where Berhane had spent a year in Ohio as an American Field Service student, living with an American family and attending high school, Berhane earned his law degree at Haile Selassie University and began a highly successful legal career, including service as Presiding Judge of the High Court of Ethiopia. As the years passed, and Haile Selassie’s overthrow was followed by the Red Terror under the dictatorship of the Derg’s Mengistu Haile Mariam, I lost track of Berhane, assuming he – along with hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians – had most likely perished. So reading his email in March 2011 was a joyful experience.
Berhane was a wonderful host on my return visit to Ethiopia in May 2012, driving me and Tesfagiorgis all over Addis Ababa in his car and hosting us in his home. You would have to experience the traffic in Addis yourself to appreciate how indebted I am to Berhane! He kindly agreed to spend an hour in my room at the Jupiter International Hotel in Addis, recording this video, in which he talks about confronting American culture as an American Field Service student in Ohio.
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