We joke that Taka is the self appointed mayor of Asosa. He seems to know everyone. "My name means 'instead'," he tells me. "I had an older brother. He died and then I was born."I heard stories of Taka before arriving in Asosa. I heard about his motorcycle. I hoped I'd get a chance to ride with him, and I finally did.
Taka's 17 year old son, Nate, was with us all week, helping where ever we went. So calm and quiet, Delphine joked about the contrast between Taka and his kids. I met his daughter towards the end of the week. "My name is Mary. I love you." What an introduction. I've joked about taking that as my standard introduction, but I think I'll instead use something Taka himself once said to me, while interrupting a story I was trying to tell at the dinner table. "You are my sister. I am your brother. You live in one country. I live in another. We have the same Father. You are my sister. I love you. Do you love me?" He then threw his head back and let out a roar of laughter. He is amazing.
I was trying to tell Jess about the surprise personal tour of Asosa I managed to get myself into earlier that day (more to that later), and Taka kept interrupting in the most amazing ways. "Listen. I'll sing an Arabic song to you." He began to sing a beautiful song, and I tried to sing along. I wish I had recorded it. I retold this to one of the interpreters later in the trip, who was quick to dismiss it. "He doesn't know Arabic. He was probably making it up." Even better.