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Celebrating Irreecha at The Muse

Another busy weekend with a very successful Curry and Quiz evening in Clyro on Friday raising over £800!  Rachel, Pauline, Corinne, Theresa, Mac, Lawrence and Virginia  with others had worked very hard to make this such a good evening. About 60 people enjoyed the food, raffle and the challenging quiz.
Then on Sunday afternoon a very successful Irreecha celebration hosted by Rachel, Pauline, Christine, Melrose and Denebo and family with about 70 participants. The Muse was beautifully decorated with Flags, flowers and materials. Rachel had cooked some wonderful Oromian dishes  and Denebo’s son claimed his mum and Rachel had made over 400 injera( pancakes)!  I’m not sure there were quite that many but they were delicious and very popular.

Some traditional dresses and helpful notes about Irreecha

Many of our group came to share the afternoon and hear Denebo talk about Oromia and traditions. Denebo’s talk was fascinating and full of insights. First a poignant minute’s silence was observed for all Oromians and especially those like Eyob who have died too soon.

Denebo talking and some of the audience.

Facts that I was particularly struck by are 1 that Oromia is bigger than a combination of France, Italy, Belguim and the Netherlands with a population of ?50 million and is a regional state of Ethiopia. 2 That there was democracy early on with all people over 8 and under 80 having responsibilities and rights and those older and younger having rights alone. 3 that there is a responsibility upon everyone to ensure all people have access to food and especially milk and that if help has been given the recipient is expected to share the good fortune with others.4 that  the current government has banned the celebration of Irreecha, a traditional Oromian festival to celebrate the end of the rainy season and start of harvest, as it has become a focus for anti- government protests. Last year many hundreds of people were killed  and many more arrested at and after the Irreecha festival.

This link will show the powerpoint presentation kindly shared by Denebo.   Irrecha 2017

It was lovely to see friends from Newport[ Dylan and family and friends], Cardiff [ Stuart and Friends] and Swansea [Maria, Phil, Cyrille, Mahdi, Naj and Bethan] together with our group sharing an afternoon of interest, good food and company. As a bonus about £460 was raised and after food and hall costs are covered theer will be about £200 for the fund to help  other asylum seekers in memory of Eyob.

Bethan and Phil in traditional hats on loan from Melrose.
Two young Oromian men and one woman had made their way from Cardiff setting off at 5am but delayed because of the Cardiff races and had to leave on the last bus back soon after arriving. They were able to share food and have a chat. They felt it a worthwhile journey to celebrate Irreecha and to remember Eyob.

Rest in Peace.