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Journey to Shoa, an Attempt to Visit Harar

Author : James D. Barker

Year : 1868

(From Page 42)
“In the first place I hired a hut belonging to a Mohamedan woman a native of the place, a widow with two children; her husband had been killed on his way to Harrar by the Adaiel. Her name was Miriam; she acted as my housekeeper, so that I had not the trouble of attending the markets. The hut was nearly circular, with a sort of box attached to it about ten feet in diameter; my bed was placed in the box or recess. There was a rude court on one side for visitors, the kitchen on the other side; so that it at once formed bedroom, parlour, and kitchen. It wag so scantily thatched that it would keep out neither wind nor rain— quite a Jack Straw's house.
A few evenings after I had taken up my abode there, Hajji Sayad being in the hut, my worthy hostess, having prepared coffee and burnt frankincense, asked Sayad to say a prayer; he quoted part of the Koran, and concluded with " May the Most High God protect and preserve him from all his enemies, and may he return to his father's house in peace!" my hostess continually repeating " Ameen, Ameen." I was indeed much affected, for they both appeared to be sincere. During a sojourn of three months I experienced many acts of kindness from these poor people; verily they acted the part of good Samaritans.”