"Merkeb" means "ship" in Amharic. We think her name is beautiful, but couldn't quite figure out why Eyob and Nebiet would have named their daughter "ship."
At the guesthouse, Helen said to me, "Do you know what Merkeb means?"
When they went to the orphanage, the people there either didn't understand what her name was because it was not an ethiopian word or changed it once she arrived.
Evidently, her given name is actually "Menkem." The name comes from their tribe - the Tigrin. The name actually means "like." Her name was intended to be "Menkem Eyob" or "like Eyob."Eyob - her father.