Ajaa Jackson’s Story
Growing up with my grandmother, I gained a sincere appreciation for diverse cultures. She taught me at an early age there were places far away from Sierra Vista, Arizona where people lived similarly yet differently from us. My grandmother spoke on the phone—to me what seemed like all the time—with family in Ethiopia and friends across the U.S. I would listen to her speak in Tigrinya, Italian, and English, sharing boastful laughter with family and friends. She also regularly hosted friends for coffee. The delight of roasted coffee bean smoke mixed with incense frequently permeated the house—a smell I’ll never forget. She loved bright colors, both in her home and clothing, which complemented her unquenchable zest for life.
Our family got to share my grandmother’s satisfaction of achieving her dream of becoming an American citizen in 2002.
Although she is no longer in this life with us, her spirit lives on in our family. She is preceded by her siblings in Axum, Ethiopia. In February, I will be taking what I hope is my first of many trips to Ethiopia. My grandmother’s love of Ethiopia has always fueled my desire to visit, and this trip is a lifelong dream come true!