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Aster Jenber

Father's name: Janber Ishta
Mother's name: Wegia Sium
Year of birth: 1957
Place of birth: Desion, Armacho
Region in Ethiopia: Armacho
Main occupation in Ethiopia: Housewife
The language of the interview: Amharic

Aster Jenber, nature, agriculture, herding sheep and cattle, education, studies, housewife, pottery, cooking, food, arranged marriage, housework, customs and traditions, milking, epidemic, post, letters, art, immigration to Israel, passport, Yonah Bugalo, Tlahun Mutcheneh, bringing up children, education, traditional medicine, superstitions, kidnapping, Desion, Armacho, Sekleit, Ambover, Sarmella, Addis Ababa, Israel, Gondar, Kenya, United States.

Summary of the testimony:

Aster describes her family tree. She notes that her mother worked as a potter. Her father wanted his children to have an education, so he sent them to study and did the farming himself.

Aster’s mother taught her how to do the various housework tasks from a young age. From the age of nine, she began to prepare food. When she learned to cook, her parents began to receive matchmaking suggestions. She was married at the age of ten. Aster describes the customs of matchmaking and the wedding, and her experiences of these events. After the wedding, she moved to live with the family of her husband – Tlahun Mutcheneh in the village of Sekleit.

As she was very young, for the first two years she mainly worked and played with her sisters-in-law. Together they would milk the cows, look after the goats, and bring meals to workers in the field. After five years, Aster and her husband moved into their own home and their oldest daughter was born, followed two years later by another daughter. At that time, their flock contracted an epidemic. Aster’s husband moved to Addis Ababa to support his family.

A short time later, Aster returned to her parents’ home. She kept in contact with her husband through letters. She talks about life in her parents’ home. Her mother did not allow her to walk around alone out of fear she would be kidnapped and forced to marry. She describes the births of her children, the way her children were educated and brought up, traditional medicine and beliefs, and the strict hygiene they observed.

After three years, Aster and her youngest daughter joined her husband in Addis Ababa. When they arrived, Aster began the process of obtaining a passport that would enable her to immigrate to Israel. She met with Mr. Yonah Bugalo, who explained that he would only be able to bring her husband to Israel, and only after receiving her consent. Thus, a work permit was arranged for her husband and he immigrated to Israel.

Aster moved northward to the city of Gondar, where she rented an apartment and learned art. She describes life in the city and two financially difficult years. She used to send letters to her husband via Israeli tourists who visited the city. Her husband sent her money with Hebrew teachers who taught in the Jewish school in Ambover.

During her time in Gondar, Aster did not lose hope of immigrating to Israel. She attempted to join various groups that left the country secretly, either on the basis of a scholarship for study in the United States or by crossing through Kenya. However, as she was a mother and not wealthy, she was unable to join any of these groups.

Eventually, after pressure from her husband in Israel and as part of the governmental initiative for family reunification, Aster immigrated to Israel with her children and was reunited with her husband.

Aster Jenber

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