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by on June 21, 2013



Faiz and I could hear the smacking of balls and cues from halfway up the cobblestone street. There were two makeshift pool halls across the road from each other, but for some reason, we were drawn to the one with the big Pepsi sign out front. A room with three pool tables and about 30 men greeted us. The walls and ceiling were bright red and blue stripes, accented against the worn green velvet of the table-tops. A mirror lining one wall made the cramped room seem bigger.

We introduced ourselves and said we were students from the U.S. and would love to hang out with these guys and just watch them play pool. Some were hesitant at first, but a few welcoming souls convinced the rest to let us stay.

No one was drinking beer and the room was well-lit, unlike most pool halls I have seen. The rules of the game didn’t seem to matter. Scratches went past without any reaction and the player was allowed to try again. Nobody seemed to have bets or rivalries going. All the simultaneous games were purely for fun, an excuse to hang out.

Spending time with friends and family is important to Ethiopians, much more so than in the U.S. It is a group, rather than individualistic, culture.No one really needs to win or lose, pool is simply a matter of playing the game together.


From → Features

One Comment
  1. A lot of people in the states said pool is death but they are short sighted. They don’t have a clue of what is going on in the world. Thanks for your blog and give us a view into your pool hall.

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