Tigist Anberber, Genet Moraetes and Saba Gebresilassie left Ethiopia for different reasons of their own, but Taste of Ethiopia in Davenport, IA brought them together.

By Amanda Hancock (Quad-City Times) |

The three women under this food tent each left Ethiopia at different times and for different reasons.

Tigist Anberber’s husband got a better job in the United States in 2001.

Genet Moraetes would pass by dead bodies lying in the street on her way to work; she worried about her safety if she stayed there.

“You just didn’t know what was going to happen the next day, so you had to get out,” Genet Moraetes said. “It was a risk.”

For Saba Gebresilassie, who moved from her native country in 2011, “There was no peace ever.”

But here they are, wearing traditional dresses and serving food they grew up with, on a Saturday in Davenport.

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On this morning, they don’t talk about the hard times. They put on Ethiopian music and continue filling plates for a steady stream of customers.

“And when we aren’t busy, we dance,” Genet Moraetes said, turning the volume up on a nearby stereo. “This was our dream — and it’s here.”

They met a few years ago at a mutual friend’s house in the Quad-Cities and started sharing recipes with each other. They took traditional dishes to work parties and went home with empty containers.

“We all had the same dream to open a real Ethiopian restaurant here, and we didn’t know that about each other,” Genet Moraetes said. “And then we talked about it.”

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