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Ms. Muhammad finds her generation less tolerant than her parents’ generation. “The older generation is a little more open to sharing and being a neighbor,” she said. “I’ve noticed it sort of skipped a generation. Especially now with the conflict going on, the younger generation is a little more intense, a little more involved.”

Back at Hailu Dama, Mrs. Selassie, too, hoped her 20-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter would someday find Ethiopian spouses. But she knows that many of their friends are not Ethiopian, and so chances are her future daughter- and son- in-law may come from different cultures.

“I just pray to God it is a blessed person,” she said. “If it’s an Ethiopian, it would make it a lot easier for all of us. But other than that, it is God’s will.”

Just as her bakery and restaurant cater to Eritrean, Ethiopian, Sudanese and Somali peoples of all faiths and political persuasions, she hopes her children are open-minded, accepting of others and willing to learn about other cultures.

Mr. Goshu, a customer at Dama since 2000 when he helped design and remodel the restaurant and cafe, calls himself a pacifist and hopes the next generation will work together to solve the political and socioeconomic problems that plague the Horn of Africa, perhaps the poorest region in the world.

“We have a love-hate relationship,” he said, describing relations between Ethiopians and Eritreans. “We see each other in churches, social gatherings and in this cafe since childhood. Historically, we get divided and subdivided, but we will be united, I hope.

“Those who are mature and wise break that hate and stay together.”

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Vincent Gragnani regularly contributes to these pages. Photographer Erin Edwards joined the staff of ONE magazine last July.



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Tags: Ethiopia Cultural Identity Emigration Horn of Africa