This is a special week for me and not just because I was spotlighted in Globe and Mail 🙂 . Although being recognized on a national platform was pretty dope! It’s actually a special week for East Africans across North America. This week the Ethiopians and Eritreans from across the US and Canada are gathering in major cities Atlanta and Toronto for a huge soccer tournament. And the official Ethiopian soccer tournament is being hosted HERE in TORONTO – MY CITY!!
So why is a soccer tournament important? Especially to someone like me who hasn’t played soccer since I was 9 yrs old and thoroughly hate any type of exercise lol. This tournament draws thousands of East Africans for a week long celebration of our culture, food and community. For many of us who grew in the diaspora, the ones who were used to Ethiopian jokes and shame around our culture we settled into- this week is our chance to break free. I’ve spoken about this a million times but when I was a kid, I loved and hated Ethiopian Food.
It tasted amazing but I couldn’t help feeling embarrassed by my strange meals. I would beg my mom not to cook it because like many Ethiopian moms, she would cook it in bulk. Preparing large pots of wot (ethiopian stews) and the whole house, and everything in it would smell of the fragrant spices! AND I MEAN EVERYTHING- from my hair to my clothes to my school knapsack would smell like the Ethiopian spices. Thankfully I’ve since learned to appreciate Ethiopian food and see the beauty in what I once thought was strange. I took the Injera and Chill series from Toronto to Atlanta and London, UK. And each time I learned something new. I knew that I had to bring my event series Injera and Chill back to Toronto to get the diaspora together and everyone else who loves East African food in the mix. Everybody- whether you’re East African or not is invited to join in the celebration 🙂
This time, however, we’re not just celebrating East African food, we’re also celebrating the change makers in our community. From our caterer, Ethiopiques– one of the best Ethiopian restaurants in the city to the artists and entrepreneurs who are making waves in the diaspora. We are celebrating people like Ephrem, of Boon Boona Coffee, an amazing East African entrepreneur from Seattle who is bringing fair trade coffee from East Africa to the forefronts of our community while celebrating the rich culture we have around coffee. And then we’ve got our special guest Messay Getahun, the leading actor/ director of the award winning film, Lambadina, shot in both the US and Ethiopia that tells the story of an East African millennial in the diaspora. We also have some great entrepreneurs like Daniel Adonai, the mastermind behind East Africana, a jewelry company that celebrates East African traditional jewelry in a modern way. And we couldn’t forget Fana, of the organization Enheed that sends East African Canadian millennial to Ethiopia to volunteer in a meaningful way and reconnect with their roots.
When I decided to bring Injera and Chill back, Eden Zeweldi (of Eden Zeweldi events) and I knew that we had to do something special. We wanted to make sure folks in the diaspora could see that Ethiopian food is worth dressing up for. That yes- you can serve injera at a dope party and that our community is doing some amazing things. So we’re going to do things a little different. We’ll be enjoying Ethiopian food from a roof top patio with some great music in the background this time around.
Be sure to grab your tickets now!
Before they run out! DJ Eske will be playing a mix of Afrobeats, hip hop, and of course Ethiopian tunes as y’all eat some delicious food. All those with advance tickets will be entered into draw for some amazing give aways by our sponsors. From tickets to an exclusive Lambadina film screening to some amazing East African jewelry to my all time favourite- Black Foodie Swag 😉