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“Fruits of Sympathy” – Short Ethiopian Movie

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“ Fruits of sympathy ” is a short movie written and directed by Tagel Amsal.

The movie has its setting in the countryside Wello Lalibela where there is high tendency to treat people with sympathy and dignity. The movie starts with a couple of shepherds looking gals having fun chatting, singing, farming and playing Ethiopian version of  “ Gabata “ board game which is considered to be the oldest one in the world.

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All of a sudden one of the shepherds challenges his buddy with “ Enka Selantiya “ the traditional oral puzzle usually played amongst young people.  

That’s when a young girl, a pilgrim of St. Lalibela Church will appear from distance. The boys leave everything behind and go to the girl singing a traditional spiritual song.

They praise her for coming for a prayer in the Rock Hewn churches build some 700 years ago by King/St. Lalibella.

The chant goes

“Be strong, you are almost there

You chose the path of God which is right”

The chant goes as they approached and helped her with the backpack.

The boys then invite to eat from their “Agelgil “ which is a traditional lunch box.

The pilgrim probably knows the culture that she eats a little and allows them to help her with the backpack. The boys will also accompany her to the church, which she didn’t resist.

Then a man driving a pickup truck shows up and stops his vehicle to look at the pilgrim and her companies. He pulled over, parked his truck and went to the boys to say hello. He says

“ I am glad I met you! “

The boys seemed not to recognize him.

“ Do you remember me? “ The driver says

“ No,” answered the boys and the movie flashes back to a former event where the driver passed out and being carried by the boys to some place in the village. The driver was a pilgrim seven months ago. He probably slipped and broke his legs due to being tired from walking a long distance to reach to Lalibella Churches. The manner in which he was dressed up with Netella /traditional gown men wears on top their jacket or sweater / shows that he was going to a church.

He was helped in a cottage /mud house / He was provided with food and drinks in a hospitable and caring manner.

The boys then remember him.

He says, “ You guys are my mentors of sympathy. ” He expresses his deep gratitude as he amiable share from their Ageligil.