When we got home from Ethiopia I met a woman named Tigist who works at our local grocery store. Tigist is from Ethiopia and has lived here for four years. There isn't a large Ethiopian population in San Antonio (at all!) so I was thrilled to meet her and even more excited to see the enthusiasm she had for "Tarikua" (Evie).
Every time I went to the store I made a point to find Tigist and say hello ('Selam') to her. We talked about Ethiopia, Tarikua, and Amharic. She told us that she wanted to have us over for dinner for Ethiopian food. Last week we went.
We arrived at Tigist's apartment complex to find her waiting outside the door for us, dressed in traditional Ethiopian clothing. We came inside and she had made injera (of course!) with three different side dishes, all featuring a kind of meat. In typical Ethiopian fashion, her hospitality and generosity were amazing. We chatted about our time in Ethiopia and showed her our adoption video. She told us about the places that she recognized. Then, she asked us if we knew what Evie's Ethiopian name "Tarikua" meant. We said that we were told it meant "history". She said it does mean history, but the essence of the word cannot be conveyed properly in English. She said the name means much more than "history". It is used when something wonderful, something beautiful comes out of a situation that starts off in a negative way. Also, the beauty in the end was in the beginning unexpected. For instance, she said an example of "Tarikua" would be if a woman had a difficult birth and the baby was expected to die. But the baby goes on to become a toddler, then child, then adult, then lives into old age - that is Tarikua. It reminded me of the often quoted text in the Bible about God making beauty from ashes. Tigist said Evie was given this name because they believed her life would become something beautiful.
While the food that evening nourished our bodies, learning the story behind our daughter's name deeply nourished our souls. And some day we will eagerly share this soul food with our Evangeline Tarikua.