Ethiopia · People · Pictures

Abadir Institute

I walked through the doors of Abadir Institute, my elementary school, and immediately felt like a giant. The wide outdoor where the boys played soccer, and the girls ran around playing “abarosh” (tag), now felt too small.

We used to line up in a queue with our classmates every morning at 8 or 8:30 in this once-really-huge yard. I remember when I used to line up in the far left side, being the youngest of them all-1st grade. Then I remembered the rush we felt as we moved to the right-2nd grade, when other younger kids lined up to our left.

Each step I took into the rest of the school came with years and years of unforgettable memories. During recess, the popular kids or the upperclassmen would sit on the bench looking stone behind the two trees and mingle. Of course, I don’t think I ever sat there. But I do remember that’s also where the principal used to punish misbehaving students in the morning during line up in front of everyone.

I walked up the stairs and to my left where I saw the stairs to the classrooms. Right next to it stood the large stone which everyone used as a slide. I was too scared of that, only slid down once.

I went up to the classrooms but they were locked for the weekend. I looked through the window of one of my old classrooms. The desks were lined up as they used to. I remember, whenever we forgot to bring our books or homework to class, we hid under one of the desk tables for the entire class. Since we sat 3 or 4 people to a desk, there was no way the teacher would catch us. And if we did get caught we would just say that we dropped  something. Ahh, kids.

So I turned back down the stairs and remembered when I tumbled all the way down those steps. I remember my skirt was covering my face and felt so humiliated that everyone just stood there and watched. Someone picked me up, but I forgot who that was.

Again, I walked back and to the right side of the school where the restrooms stood. The upper side (left) was the girls and the right
side was for the boys.

Because the bathrooms didn’t have doors to them, we always went with a friend. When I would go in to use, she would stand in front of me (facing outside of course) and being as a door, hold her skirt to cover for me. We used to say “keleyegn” to say cover for me. Lol

In the open space right above the restroom, the girls played a lot of different games that I don’t remember to mention right now. We played jump rope; we tied 5 or 6 jump ropes (or torn up t-shirts) and jumped in and out as two girls held from opposite sides. Anyway, we played a lot of fun games.

Then I walked all the way up to the last part of the school where the open space is now filled with desks. We used that space to eat lunch. (OHH, I think this is their lunch room; they eat on desks now; we used to sit on the floor, used our books as stools.)

I remember I used to trade my pasta and macaroni to old fashion shiro. (I don’t know why people hate on shiro; it’s the best stuff ever. [It’s a traditional Ethiopian dish, just awesome.])

Then I went to the back classrooms, my last classroom, 6th grade. We had an end of the year party for our teachers. (Unsuccessful). Other classes brought all kinds of cookies and soda, had awesome music and they danced all day.

My disorganized class was just as bad as its name. People would give enough money, so we didn’t have enough cookies. The guy, who promised to bring music, didn’t. So we just had a full day of no classes, just spent the day like that.

As I finished taking pictures, the cleaning lady followed me back and asked me if I remember her. I didn’t. (Shame on me.) Her name was Etagey Menber. She’s been working there since 1990 E.C. or 1998 G.C.

She hugged me and asked me to come back soon to meet the other ladies who also have been working for that long. I also met Ato Teka, the guard who stood at the gate everyday.

When he saw my dad, he asked, “Where is that little girl that you used to bring? Is that her?!” lol Yea, that was me.


15 thoughts on “Abadir Institute

  1. i never new you went to Abadir wow it just brought all the memories from 10 years or more back. That was what i exactly felt when i went there last time awesom written well.

    1. wow!!!!… awesome ,, i loved it sara. i had lots of memory in that institute…, OMG, aydebe adisha yi surachuw fizbe tes ylal.
      who is the guard? is that Sultan? lol and the old lady i forgot her name. almost 10 years i left the skul. good job keep it up sara!!!!

      1. Thanks Boki, I took the pictures myself; one day we were driving past the school and asked dad if he could stop so I could take some pictures. (He usually says NO, but this time he stopped) So, I went in there and took some pictures and the story just came to me as I was taking the pictures!
        The guard is not Sultan, although I remember his name! But I forgot this guards name, I have his picture, I just couldn’t upload it then. I’ll try to upload it soon, Insha’Allah! 🙂

    2. i went to Abadir until i left to come to Australia in 2004 g.c.. i was affectionately known by the name Quasimodo back then lol .. we had a massive class captain who’s name was Mohammed, he was somali. i also remember a dude named Aseged who had a little sister who was in my grade.. i have forgotten most of my friends but remember every detail of that school like i saw it yesterday. i also remember being too sacred to go down that slide lol… anyways if you kinda remember me or of me let me know. thanks for the stroll down memory lane

  2. Sara, it’s one thing to write about something (which you do excellently by the way), but it’s another to incorporate some pictures along with it. Excellent post and yes, memories like crazy! 🙂 by the way, what happened to that metallic structure that was there by the restrooms that we used to climb on like monkeys?

  3. Hi Sara, wow I can’t stop reading ur article and watching ur nicely shooted pics.they rolled me back to ma old,sweet, innocent,good and bad memories.Damn me!! that I have’t go back there since I left in 1988 E.C. Most of all u impressed me with ur attractive writing skills. Keep it up girl!!!

  4. I went to different public school (Addis Abeba)…but same reality and memories —what a flashback !!
    A picture tells ,,,,,

  5. WOW,thank you for posting this wonderful blog and pictures. I am alumni of abadir as well with my 2 brothers. from class zero to grade 8. I was there when abdir which used to be only to grade 6 added 2 more grades.i had wonderful memories of the stone slide .Between those 2 trees used to sit emama kolo if any of you know the old lady that used to sell kollo.Great memories and i could not even begin where to start!!!!

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