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Searching for the “Real” Persons PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mesenbet Hailu   

In one of the coffee shops around Piazza, a girl was sitting at one of the tables by herself. She kept on checking her watch again and again while at the same time looking attentively at the customers entering the Coffee shop one after the other.


Before long, a tall slender man attired with a thick blue jacket entered the Coffee shop where he had an appointment. When he hesitantly advanced towards the girl sitting at the table; she immediately stood up and welcomed him. These two people had never seen each other before. Both of them reside in different parts of the world.

This was how Muluemebet Minda, a singer renowned for her traditional and modern songs, currently residing in Switzerland and Estifanos Teshome, a diarist whose true story was aired for forty weeks on Sheger FM Radio, residing in Addis Ababa, met for the first time.


“I moved to Switzerland almost more than ten years ago. I mostly enjoy spending my leisure time surfing through the web looking at Ethiopian Websites. One day I came across National AIDS resource center’s website with information posts about Betegna Radio Program. When I got access to the website, Hiwot Mamo’s story was being aired.” said Muluemebete in recollection of the time when she firstly introduced herself to “Betengna”


From then onwards, Muluemebet has remained one of more than forty thousand listeners from all over the world who regularly download and listen to Betegna’s Radio Program online.


“I felt as if I had attended or witnessed the entire scenario of Senait Abraha’s rape inflicted by her employer. Yes indeed, I can see a dark-mud room; the old black box carrying eggs for sale; the employer shoving her down and tearing her dress …. clear as crystal, just like a scene in a movie,” said Muluemebete.


The Artist revealed that her parents did not raise her having open discussions about matters. She believes that, based on her understanding of the experiences related by most Betengna diarists, the absence of having open discussions with parents largely explains the reasons associated with their situations in their lives. “Aster Kebede of Hawassa grew up being constantly beaten by her father and stepmother. They did not even consider her as their child,” she said. She further stated that the radio diaries have raised her awareness on how to raise her own children in the future.


Muluemebete had planned to do two things during her visit in Ethiopia; to produce her second music album in Ethiopia, and meet Betengna diarists in person, to whose voices and stories she has became familiar.


“I have never missed a single episode aired on Betengna’s Amharic program. I felt as if I had known all of them. It was just like meeting best friends again,” she said. During her stay in Ethiopia, she met up with Sirak Abebe, Hiwot Mamo and Estifanos Teshome in person. “I found all the storytellers to be stronger than my expectations. They do not seem to have faced such odds when you see and hear them chatting and laughing the way they do,” she said.


When Estifanos and Muluemebet were leaving the coffee shop, they seemed to have been long time best friends.