It was my second week in the beautiful windy city of Chicago uptown area packed by many foreigners from every country on earth; of course many have been there longer than others. Especially, South African community, Ethiopian community all from Africa are much more established than rest of the African communities. It was also first time arrival of the Gambella people from Ethiopia to USA. I believe many Ethiopian due lack of information about their country did not even know where we came from exactly, even when told that we are Gambellan Ethiopian some still could not believe it. It was/is a denial that sometime comes out of ignorance from ill informed citizens about the human geography, and history of our country.
I think our dark skin pigmentation was the matter of all. For some reason when some of them see our dark skin pigment, some think we are from Jupiter planet even to this day some of them still do. It did not matter for us. No body is going to the take away our freedom of belonging to Ethiopia. A belonging in other word natural, no body is going to determine for us which political community we should belong to. But that is another topic to be discussed in the near future. Let me go back to my original story, I believe we were housed at a high-rise building called “Gojam veranda” named after Amhara people of Gojam. Of course the majority people residing in the building were in fact from that particular area of Ethiopia; except the four of us from the southwest who was housed in in a one bedroom apartment. Imagine four adult’s people like us with different social needs in a one bedroom apartment with appalling condition, it was terrible. To tell you the truth it have been terrible living condition imposed by inconsiderate sponsors who were financial stingy only to help us withered by suffering.
Financially, they gave each of us seven dollars a week for food that is it. Now with five dollars we each chipped in totaling twenty dollars what kind of food can one buy to make four of us get by for a week really. As I said before four of us were young; had different social needs, for instant after we chip in five-five for food I had only two dollars left for a pack of Marlboro cigarette. My friend had two dollars left too that we used for a bull bear bottle. Friday night was the best of all of Windy City Chicago: night clubs and enjoyment with no time limits, special downtown Chicago but with no money to go there was no way for us to enjoy the vistas .
But there is one odd thing or perhaps many things about Chicago, for instant when one stands waiting for a sky way train, have a few cash spent in his/her pocket, do not want to use it at moment no problem just ask people existing when the train stops at any station for “transfer”, say transfer, transfer please! Please! And without focusing on any particular person, if lucky one could have someone give you his/her transfer instead discarding it. There many things to pay attention to learn; one of them is city language by black people, there are many more to talk about, it is the English language used by black people of America. I tell you the truth it took me a year to understand them well.
First learning school of this language is the street one walk on every day. One could counter some brothers on the streets asking if you “got a quarter”, it is the "first puzzle" one should resolve if one is in America already. If anyone of you doesn't know about the meaning of a “quarter”; “it means twenty-five cents”. Yo bro can you give me a quarter, or yo bro give me a quarter. I understand there are all sorts’ things one didn't know before? Yo =means you, bro= means brother, matha fuka means= mother fucker, shit= stool, etc...
But these are the first words from blacks in America one is going to encounter upon arrival in the States. The second school to learn Black English language is at work place. By interacting with the brothers you learn a lot about shit, fuck in any conversation. One may shy away for a while or one might be thinking they were saying what they are saying because of one was near them. To contrary they are not.
Black English words are words one would be first reluctant to use in his/her daily conversation with others. It is a cultural shock for those of us coming from different parts of the world. It irritate people especially first timers, sometimes it makes one go home from work ballooned with anger, disappointment. It is not the grammatical English language one learned all his life. Perhaps, the only thing one does is quit the job. But for what reason, can one explain satisfactorily? Instead of learning adapting why decide quit. For learning sake quitting is not the answer. Where would one go in America where one doesn't hear Black English language used: the answer is nowhere. It is music, big time, it is a news channels, it is being used in theaters, and it is a commercial language spoken in the market places.
Historically, black English was hated by many in America in the bygone era. But now has become global, with global reach, have now become universally spoken language. It so popular that even the Russian people from faraway want to speak English in black accent. It is attracting more, more audiences around the world. To fully grasp what I am talking about check with Eminem lyrics, see whether he was using black accent or not, so do many white kids in America today. So if one asked what than can I do to learn the language, the answer: it is current, the current trend indicates; black language is developing; getting worldwide acceptance. It is up the individual now to learn, adapt acculturate themselves. Back in the days in Chicago I learn their way of spoken English, I have no difficulty understanding black English. Man! my friends I love Chicago even to date when I am longer there in the windy city. I left Chicago because all my homes left, I was living alone, and the money I was getting was so little in that epoch. I was cash strapped, what I had was just to get by, and not enough for rent, food, utilities, transportation, so you see I was financial broke all times. I started drinking alcohol heavily. I was extremely depressed, if I did not move to Minnesota by insistent of a friend; I do not know what I would have been today.
You see Chicago is one of the best American cities to live in if one is financially stable or okay. Otherwise one should move quickly when difficulties struck as they did with me. As I said earlier in my article “Strangers in Another Land” “job” is the number Uno as personal security is concern, it is the source of money; to happiness, like the river water one should have it every day, all the times If not one could suffered a great deal of depression, the psychological trauma that comes afterward could take years to wash away from a person mind.