I received an official welcome from Mayor of Takoma Park and Members of Congress of the USA made possible by Mr. Tebabu Assefa. The largest Ethiopian community outside of Ethiopia live in Takoma Park – The written resolution, commendation and proclamations are at the end of this post.
I received citation from Congressman Chris Van Hollen. Above is the cover but the full citation at the end
And from member of Congress Michael M. Honda I received a commendation. The full commendation is at the end. Below is inspirational Jamie Raskin more of whom a little later.
The Ethiopian diaspora community and other Americans gathered along with state of Maryland’s Government Officials at busboys & poets in Takoma, MD. Sold out.
Mayor Kate Stewart made a mayoral proclamation welcoming me to Takhoma Park. Full proclamation at the end of this post. Her speech was so honest truthful and heartfelt I was reminded that my reading should be the same. I followed her lead.
Then Jamie Raskin (running for Congress) introduced me onto stage by reading off by heart the heartfelt poem “In Memory of WB Yeats” by Auden. It’s got to be one of the best introductions I’ve had onto stage in a long time. Once again I realised that this was special. If the speeches were this good what was I left to do. Always hope the people on stage before you are brilliant. Because they are tuning the audience in. Rise to the ocassion. Otherwise why be there.
It was my turn to deliver. And I wouldn’t have been in any other place in the world than right there at a venue in Takoma Park at a venue named after a langston Hughes line “Bus boys and poets”. My reading lasted forty minutes.
And there was a standing ovation. In a cafe! I’m always moved by a standing Ovation. My poems thank the audience. The woman on the left is Alemtsehay Wedajo. The two people (on the left) are famous ethiopian actors and that’s Ethiopia Alfred on the right.
And then I was treated with “an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony” by founder of Blessed Coffee, Mr. Tebabu Assefa. He organised this whole shebang & then my citation read by Mrs. Sara Sara Mussie.
I’ve spent this week with my Godmother, Ethiopia Alfred. She is wonderful . Occasionally while at the house this week I had lightening flashes of recognition that this must be what it’s like. I don’t miss what I’ve never had. But there are times I see what wasn’t there.
Ethiopia Alfred’s home is palatial.
She held a welcome party for me and film maker Makonnen Michael.
Lots of other things happened. Particularly memorable is the interview for Ethiopia Broadcasting Service (EBS) on The Helen Show
This is Helen. I enjoyed the interview. She was well researched and she is beautiful talented and wise.
While in DC I wrote a letter to father Christmas for Jamie Byng As my plane touched down back in London an article appeared in The Telegraph. The next night my TV programme Race Apart was broadcast on BBC North West. Its all me me me isn’t it. On a more serious note.
So here are the three citations from the states. I have not yet passed my first hundred days since being installed as Chancellor of University of Manchester. A lot has happened.