Support the MERKATO Journey!
Support the MERKATO Journey!
Im so excited to announce today as my first day launching my Kick Starter campaign. MERKATO is almost finished and I need your help to get me there.
For the next 45 days, I will be campaigning to raise the much needed finishing funds to support the film and have it be seen all over the world.
Please visit the site for my special MERKATO teaser & more information on how you can help!
Thank you for all your support on this journey!
It so hard to say goodbye, but I realize this is only just the beginning. My heart grows warm as I think of my MERKATO family who welcomed me into their lives. After months of struggle and triumph it is finally a wrap on the shooting end. I am extremely grateful for this experience, as a young filmmaker, I have learned so much from this project. It will grow with me forever. Thank you all for your undivided support on this journey.
::::Blessings & love Sosena::::
photographed by Michael Tsegaye
Hawa has been selling incense in Merkato for over 40 years. At 105 years old she still gets up at 6am to walk several long blocks to her section of the market. Don't let her age fool you, she can feel money and sense how much it is without seeing it....how remarkable! I spent a couple days following Hawa on her journey. It was an honor, her colleague told me she trusts no one, so to be able to sit beside her was truly special. She told me she has seen Merkato when there were no walls. "When we all used to just sit on the floor and sell our goods..those were the good old days".
Meet Wurro. She was given this nick name in Merkato because in amharic it translates to the calling of a cat. I have had my eye out for a female character since I got here and found her to be an interesting perspective. She is simply one of the most hardworking young women I think I have ever met. She works seven days a week washing uniforms for the workers in minalish in addition to serving them their daily coffee and tea.
After a couple days with Wurro, I really felt her pain, strength and independence as a young working female in Merkato. Her voice inspired me, which is why I decided to include her in the film. She has seen allot and worked hard to gain respect from the men in minalesh terra...now that is a force to be reckoned with.
The last two weeks have been beyond stressful, so we just had to make time for some fun in minalesh. I discovered two new characters that I feel are quite captivating. I will introduce them to you soon. I just wanted to show some fun moments that keep us going. xo
"Selam New york! Indetnew Chicago?" (Hello New York! How are you Chicago?) "Welcome back sosie…did u forget me?"
I was warmly greeted back to minalesh terra by my body guard Gedion, the most feared and respected gangster in Merkato. He also buys and sells used car parts in minalish terra. He has been a major influence on the making of this film. Beyond his guidance and protection, he has truly become a main character to this project. His unique perspective has been on my mind these last couple months away. It took lots of trust building and mind games (the merkato way) but I finally got him to be in the film. So I have been in addis for the last three weeks story building mostly without my camera, taking sound interviews until I was ready to start building images again.
"One day I will make it out of here...Merkato made me but now i'm ready for more."-Gedion
masinko is a traditional ethiopian violin. I thought it would be nice to surprise my friends in minalesh with a masinko player as a token of gratitude. It was really a pleasure getting to know everyone and I wanted celebrate with some songs.
Although Gashe Amde was on a serious Ramadan fast, which permits dancing, he had a blast listening to the folk singers hilarious poems..
so did my dad.
I have less than a week in addis and everyone seems to ask me if im finally done with this project...my heart tells me the doors are still open.
I spent the other day with Ashenafi, an 18 year old whose name means winner in amharic. Ashenafi spends his school breaks as a qor-yalew, travelling from Min Alesh to neighborhoods throughout the city buying scraps of metal, plastics, and anything else reusable.
He gets up early every morning, before the market starts up, to get about 20 birr from his boss and then off he goes into the different neighborhoods, house-to-house, announcing his presence with an abridged version of "qorqoro-yalew, qorqoro-yalew" (do you have metal scraps?) Everyday he does this until he gets his fill and then travels back to Min Alesh terra to sell them. Although we walked for several hours with him carrying a heavy load, Ashenafi didn't utter one word of complaint, despite his exhaustion. I on the other hand... He has such a humble spirit and perspective. I'm thankful that he shared his experience with me.
After a long day, I realize we are moving forward.
I have introduced Gashe Abde in my earlier blogs. I find myself going back to him and his brother Abdella. I finally worked up the trust and sweet reputation in minalesh to score an interview with Abde (above). It was quite fun to watch him around his many friends. So much laughter, silly quarrels and chat to share. The craziness never ends on this corner. He tried to avoid talking much about Abdella. He gave a suspicious grin and said he adores his brother and has a glowing relationship he cherishes.
Across the lonely street Abdella remains broke and in pain. He has only made 5 birr today as hears his brother Abde laughing and talking with friends and customers. He thinks about his brothers betrayal every day...but he accepts this as part of life in Merkato and leaves it all to allah.
As my days in minalesh are getting shorter, I realize I have walked a very long narrow path to get here. And yes...I do see the light.