Sven’s Second Post

04Apr07

Since February 12, I have been in contact with my friend, Tezeta (a pseudonym, means “memory” in Amharic). She has been helping me as my primary contact with the Ethiopian community in the DC area. Yet, I try not to ask too much of her because she is very busy, and our friendship takes precedence over the project. And so it has been very difficult to get very far, despite both our efforts. Tezeta has worked to get me in contact with coworkers, friends, and community leaders. So far, I have had two informal interviews with Tezeta, and had one survey filled out by a friend of hers, Debebe (another pseudonym). Due to these difficulties, I have begun to consider other options for getting into contact with Ethiopians.

My most valid idea for finding more contacts in the Ethiopian community is to go to an Ethiopian restaurant and simply meet someone. This idea has been strengthened by the story of another anthropology student who reported great results from studying Chinese in DC by simply approaching strangers in Chinatown. He guessed wrong many times about whether people were actually Chinese, but his positive responses were very positive. So, I think that this will be an adequate method. I could go to U Street near 7th street, which is known informally as Little Ethiopia.

In only being in direct contact with Tezeta, she has helped me to understand her particular situation. Tezeta did not come to the United States on the Diversity Visa. A sponsor helped her to emigrate here, and she lived with her sponsor when she first moved to DC two years ago. She cites transportation issues as her major reason for living in the DC area. She is able to go to work from Silver Spring, Maryland, all the way to downtown DC by metro bus and rail, five days a week. This way, she does not have to make the major purchase of a car. Yet, beyond that, Tezeta has expressed a depth of involvement in the Ethiopian community. Other than work, she spends most of her time at her apartment with her Ethiopian roommates and at her Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which she attends every Sunday and any weekday that she gets off early. When I asked her if it was common for Ethiopians to live with each other, she said that Ethiopians will live with other Ethiopians, even if they do not know the person. By this, she was implying that the Ethiopians she knows work to surround themselves by Ethiopians. Tezeta told me that the Ethiopians who do not know each other meet at church. Other than citing transportation as the main reason to live in the DC metro area, Tezeta seems to fully support my hypothesis that social networking is the primary attraction for Ethiopians to live in this area.

The data from the survey that Tezeta presented to Debebe is less clear. Debebe moved from Texas, after living there first for 2 years, to DC a year ago. He moved here for the DC job market, he clearly states. He did not use social networking to find himself a job, either. He used online jobsites, like Monster.com. Debebe also notes that he spends his time out side of work to, “attend school, get to know different persons not from Ethiopia, exercise…”. So, the social networking does not seem to be a significant factor in Debebe’s decision to live in the DC area.

It is occurring to me during this project that my ideas of what living in DC means to Ethiopian immigrants has been shaped by being friends with Tezeta before starting the project. So, I need to discuss these matters with more contacts in greater depth to avoid my own bias at this point.

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4 Responses to “Sven’s Second Post”

  1. when you say it’s ove. Nurit Hailey.

  2. 2 Sven

    Nurit Hailey,

    I’m sorry, but I do not understand your comment. I’m not sure what you mean by “ove”. If you mean over, then I’ll have say it’s over already. I have stopped my work amongst DC Ethiopian immigrants and moved to China to teach English for a year. I don’t know if I will get back to this project at any point.

    Thanks for your comment!
    Sven

  3. hey sven…spam infiltrated our blog, and apparently your good graces.

    speaking of china, care to share?

    take care, if you come back to dc in the next yr stumble through columbia heights.

  4. I like the helpful info you provide on your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and take a look at
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