New Flower Flasher

Addis Ababa means “new flower.”

“Flasher” is someone who exposes his/her genitalia in public.

We’re walking back from lunch and we notice a man pulling up the cloth that is wrapped around his legs, like a skirt/wrap, which is common rural attire that men who have come to the city still wear around town.  We make eye contact.  He hikes the cloth up far enough to reveal his green underwear.  No scratching was occurring. 

Next thing you know, he pulls out his goods.  We’re maybe twenty feet away. 

He’s probably in his 50s, disheveled, with a cane, likely living on the street.  Walks a little bent.

We walk around him, and he says something.  We continue on.

“That’s a first.”

“Did he really do that?”


Taken aback, chuckling a bit, but also thinking about what he might do to street children, we continue on to our office. 

“Get this.  A man on the street revealed himself to us?”

Our secretary doesn’t quite get the translation.  So we make some motions.  She laughs!

“Has that ever happened to you?”

“Not me, but I saw it happen to people in front of me one time.  You know what?  I’ve seen men…”

She then makes motions in a way that is quickly deduced to…

“…completely naked?”

“Yeah!  Walking down the street.  I’ve seen it many times.”

“Really?!  If you do that in the U.S., you get put in jail.”

“Why?  What if they’re crazy?”

“They have to be a little crazy to do that!  And if they’re very crazy they get put into a hospital for crazy people.”



The day continued on.  We had tea and coffee and wrote our reports and fixed up some posters.  Then the afternoon rains came and cooled things down.

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