HERstory – Kidist Nerke

In this HERstory Kidist Nerke from SNNPR – southern part of Ethiopia shares with us how and why she made her way to Addis Ababa.

Kidist copy
Kidist Nerke

I think about making difficult decisions in the future but I don’t think I’ve ever done anything of which people didn’t approve. If I had to think about it, I’d say that I’ve made my parents sad. I don’t live with them now and they’re sad because of that. I talk to them on the phone often and I also go to visit them once or twice a year. I came to Addis four years ago. I’m now 25. I ran away from Bonesere, a kebele (district) in SNNPR – Southern Nations and Nationalities People’s Region.

I made that choice because here in Addis, I can work and earn money. Back where I’m from, there are no jobs and there’s no money to be made. I wanted to come here and make my own living.  I worked for two years as a house-help but I didn’t like it. There was a lot of scolding and nagging and I had no freedom. I started working as a parking assistant two years ago.

I ran away without telling anyone so no one had a chance to react. When my parents found out, they were very sad but what could they do? They quickly got used to the idea because two of my brothers had also run away from home and had come to Addis Ababa. Here, they wash cars and shine shoes.

At first, I felt sad because I made my parents unhappy for a while. I also missed them a lot when I first came here. But I’m happy now. There are so many advantages to being here.  I also visit my parents once or twice a year. Usually, I go during Meskel celebrations. So everything’s okay.

The initial price I paid for making that choice was feeling guilty  for making my parents sad but they came around so I don’t regret anything now. And i think the gains i have made from my choice is that here I can work and earn money. I like being independent and living in the city. I’m happy to be here. I rent a place with my brothers and that also makes me happy. When I went back to visit my parents, they were so happy. Everyone in the community was so happy that they started sending their children to Addis Ababa.

I don’t know if I have three principles per se by which i live. But I know that people are sometimes happy and sometimes sad. They often encounter frustrating situations and many challenges. I get sad when there’s too much to worry about— when the rent is due, when I need to buy groceries and when there are expenses I don’t know how to meet. Thinking about money makes me feel anxious. What to pay for rent and what to eat…those are my worries. Otherwise I’m happy to be here.

A huge thanks to Kidist for sharing HERstory with us.  We wish her more happiness and success. Kidist Nerke, from Ethiopia, is a parking attendant who also makes a living selling mobile card.  
This interview was conducted by Helina Yigletu.
If you’re interested in submitting a story of an African woman (you or an interviewee), please get in touch with us at africanfeminism@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you.  

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