October 8 at the Ital Shack
Discover the culture of Ethiopia with a deep dive into the unique flavours of food, drink, dress, music, and more by coming out to the Ital Shack on the evening of Sunday, October 8. The event begins at 5:00pm with a Coffee Ceremony, and includes a shared dinner of authentic Injera flatbread while listening to Ethiopian music. The dinner and shared time will likely last until 9:00pm.
The event is a passion project of Raisa and Roland Joe, better known as Ras Bushman. The couple visited Ethiopia several years ago and toured the country, making friends and soaking up its unique culture and heritage at every turn. Recently they encountered two other Ethiopia enthusiasts, and the idea sprang forth and swirled into existence: Let’s do an Ethiopia Night and share the richness of the “Land of Origins” with the people of St. Maarten! The plan is to hold such an event once a month, always on a Sunday evening, so keep tuned for the next one, just in case you can’t make this one!
Event organisers Senait Bekele, a native of Ethiopia, now living in St. Maarten for two years, and Janna Johanna Lukkezen, a transplant from the Netherlands who has been living here for a year. Both ladies work at the White and Yellow Cross and were already sharing their love for Ethiopia before meeting up with Raisa. As often happens at the Ital Shack, connections were spontaneous, and magic happened. Before long everyone was smiling and nodding, bringing forth new ideas about how to make an event that would be very special.
“This is my chance to share my culture,” said Senait. “Wherever I go, I always meet people from home, but here in St. Maarten I didn’t meet anyone from Ethiopia.” She grew up in Sidamo, a province in the southern part of the country, famous for its very special coffee, grown slowly in the fertile highlands and prized for its fruity flavour profile.
Senait explained that in her culture they always share coffee, up to three times a day, generally after each meal. It’s a ritual, a ceremony, all about hospitality and socializing. The beans are hand washed, while still green and then roasted and ground up. The tradition is for everyone to share the aroma of roasting beans, then the fresh hot beverage is poured from a Jebena pot and as the participants drink the small cups they enjoy experiencing a moment of pleasure together.
The food is also special: Injera will be freshly prepared, it’s a flatbread made from the super grain Teff, which has been fermented to create something thin yet fluffy, ideal for rolling up and dipping in a variety of sauces. Teff grain is considered a superfood, very healthy and tasty. It has complete proteins, as well as magnesium, iron, and calcium. And no other grain on earth has more fibre per serving! Being fermented means its beneficial to your gut microbiome, and it’s gluten free. Accompanying the injera flatbread will be a variety of items including salad, lentils, cabbage and Shirot (a medium-hot red sauce that is typical of such meals.) And since it’s being held at the Ital Shack, it’s 100% vegan.
Space is limited so make your plans to be a part of this rich experience, discover new friends and share the culture of Ethiopia. The cost is US $20 US for a plate of Injera and US $3 for a cup of the coffee. The Ital Shack is located at Bush Road 7, Philipsburg. For more information or to reserve your spot, call +1 (721) 542 0055 or + 1 (721) 581 6344.