You are the way Coke is meant to be drunk: no tinny taste left in the mouth, or too-large plastic bottles, but just right – a cool, sturdy glass maintaining its fullness and pure, untainted sweetness.
You are Africa’s drink: found everywhere, your logo plastered across billboards and small shops that crowd the road, welcoming everyone to open happiness for just 3 birr or 20 shillings. Even if I drive two dusty days away, I can still find you in a dim, bare café that probably could not even give me water.
I have one of the posters, dirt-covered and its lamination cracking. Live on the Coke side of life, it says, showing your silhouette exploding with brightly colored fun. On the day I moved away from Ethiopia, I asked a shopkeeper on our street if I could buy it off his wall. “I will get you another from the factory,” he said. “But I am going to America today,” I told him, and he gave it to me, not accepting any money. “Take it and be happy.”
Those cans of sodas and fancy flavors in the States are all well and good, but compared to you they just lack character. Instead, give me a dusty, worn glass bottle of Coke, please. Kazkaza. Because that is home.