I work in a typical office for Africa. Meaning that we have a tea, or coffee in the case of Ethiopia, setting for continued tea (or coffee) drinking during your time in the office. We also have a lovely staff member who works for us. She delivers tea or coffee to your desk, per your preference. In my culture, younger folks ought to serve the older folks so at times, I feel very self-conscious when she comes to ask me if I need some tea as I am typing away on my laptop. She is grandmotherly, speaks a few sentences of English and is forever telling each and everyone of us how much she likes us. Today, my officemate played a cruel trick on her. When she came to fill up my huge cup with my preferred tea of choice (mint), he mentioned that she is the parent of one famous Ethiopian singer. Of course, I googled the singer right away and some of her videos came up on youtube. So, naturally, I showed this to EthioGrandma who was in our office and asked if that was her daughter. She was amazed! She had, in a previous conversation, shared that she had never attended school and could not read English or even Amharic. She leaned in a kissed the screen of my laptop as her daughter’s video played. Then, my officemate decided to tell her that I could show her on my handy laptop what her daughter was doing right at that moment…

EthioGrandma really believed this officemate of mine, even going as far as asking whether I could show her her daughter tomorrow morning so she could see her face. I was amused by my officemate but you know that feeling you get when you mess with a grandma type of person, I felt bad. She hadn’t seen her daughter in person for a long time. Not sure how long it had been since she last saw her. Plus I was concerned because, in real life, her daughter is married with children but, as it goes with music videos, she prances around with a ‘love interest’ in her videos. I was worried that EthioGrandma would think that her daughter was playing around on her hubby!

I am trying to find the best way to gently let her know about youtube and technology in general…and what that means for seeing her daughter every morning. Any ideas?

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