Six Days in The USA – 30th Nov – 6th Dec.

I received an official  welcome from Mayor of Takoma Park and Members of Congress of the USA made possible by Mr. Tebabu Assefa.  The largest Ethiopian community outside of  Ethiopia live in Takoma Park – The written resolution, commendation and proclamations are at the end of this post.


I received  citation  from Congressman Chris Van Hollen. Above is the cover but the full citation at the end

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And  from member of Congress Michael M. Honda I received a commendation. The full commendation is at the end. Below is inspirational  Jamie Raskin more of whom a little later.  1H6A7343 (Large)

The Ethiopian diaspora community and other Americans gathered along with state of Maryland’s Government Officials at busboys & poets in Takoma, MD.  Sold out.

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Mayor Kate Stewart made a mayoral proclamation welcoming me to Takhoma Park. Full proclamation at the end of this post.   Her  speech was so honest truthful and heartfelt I was reminded that my reading should be the same. I followed her lead.1H6A7406 (Large)                        

Then Jamie Raskin  (running for Congress)   introduced me onto stage by reading off by heart the heartfelt poem   “In Memory of WB Yeats” by Auden.  It’s got to be one of the best introductions I’ve had onto stage in a long time.   Once again I realised that this was special.  If the speeches were this good what was I left to do. Always hope the people on stage before you are brilliant.  Because they are tuning the audience in. Rise to the ocassion. Otherwise why be there.

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It was my turn to deliver.  And I wouldn’t have been in any other place in the world than right there at a venue in Takoma Park at a venue named after a langston Hughes line “Bus boys and poets”.   My reading lasted forty minutes.

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And there was a standing ovation. In a cafe! I’m always moved by a standing Ovation. My poems thank the audience. The woman on the left is Alemtsehay Wedajo. The two people (on the left) are famous ethiopian actors and that’s Ethiopia Alfred on the right.

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And then I was treated with “an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony”  by founder of Blessed Coffee, Mr. Tebabu Assefa.  He organised this whole shebang  &  then my citation read by Mrs. Sara Sara Mussie.


I’ve  spent this week with my  Godmother, Ethiopia Alfred. She is wonderful . Occasionally while at the house this week I had lightening flashes of recognition that this must be what it’s like. I don’t miss what I’ve never had.  But  there are times I see what wasn’t there.


Ethiopia Alfred’s home is palatial.


She  held a welcome party for me and film maker Makonnen Michael.


Lots of other things happened.  Particularly memorable is the interview for Ethiopia Broadcasting Service (EBS) on The Helen Show


This is Helen. I enjoyed the interview. She was well researched and she is beautiful talented and wise.


While in DC I wrote a letter to father Christmas for Jamie Byng  As my plane touched down back in London an article appeared  in The Telegraph. The next night my TV programme  Race Apart was broadcast on BBC North West. Its all me me me isn’t it. On a more serious note.


So here are the three citations from the states. I have not yet passed my first hundred days since being installed as Chancellor of University of Manchester.  A lot has happened.

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7 thoughts on “Six Days in The USA – 30th Nov – 6th Dec.”

  1. Fantastic 6 days. Not only memorable but many “once in a life time” experience presented it self . Lemn, you are gifted, talented, humble, brilliant and a kind individual. It is an honor and my pleasure to have you as my Godson. My prayers are with you to excel in life, to love and be loved, flourish in whatever endeavor you might choose to take in your journey of life . You will always have my love and support, wherever you may be.
    Ethiopia Alfred (GM)

  2. Lemn….Wonder no more…your splashing vogues, as a truth teller with unique elegance and wisdom, is the answer to the big question LEMN.

    LEMN is a question and the answers itself, with ice and fire. Like the Yin Yang, your confirm the contrary forces are actually intertwined and complementary.

    The six days were only the celebration of that grand truth with your parish under the shadow the busboys poet.

    Sara, Yared, Helina and I are honored and proud to be part of your Six Days in the US.

  3. “…Because where does all that lack of forgiveness go to? It goes to your partner. It goes in your gut, it goes in your behaviour, it goes into the fact you can’t let people close to you…You feel like you have something to defend and you’ve no idea what it s.”

    Wow…this hit home HARD. And I started reading your story. What an amazing journey! You are one strong man. I hope I get to that point of forgiveness and feel the burden lifted of off me…hope is good.

    How is it that you have a god-mother?

    1. She decided she would be my god mother. And on forgiveness. It’s like this. I spent a lifetime on the edge. Unable to forgive and consumed by a functioning anger. It didn’t seem like anger at all. It was only when it left me that I realised it was anger turned in on myself. So I left the edge and took the leap into the unknown. Forgiveness is a leap into the unknown. For me it was the emotional equivelant of jumping off the edge and letting go. And who knew I would be lifted on the thermals. All this time I hadn’t been flying at all. Not until now.

  4. Much love to you and Ethiopia Alfred. So wonderful that you are home at last!
    You share yourself with everyone and I am lucky to witness the result. Serenity on the run….

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