>Saturday, January 28. Alaba and Dorze Tribes.

>The next day, we headed out to visit some of the tribes in the Southern Omo Valley. There are a total of 16 tribes living in Southern Ethiopia. Each tribe has its own language and there is very little communication across tribes. We will be visiting about half of these tribes over the next few days.

As we headed out, there was a constant stream of people along the road heading towards the market with their goods….


…these carts were waiting to fill up their water cans at a well…


….some were even taking their cattle to the market to sell…


The first village where we stopped was of the Alaba tribe. their huts were unique due to the paintings both outside…


…and inside their huts. The women of this tribe are responsible for this artwork.


We were invited into one of the huts to see how they live. In the middle of the hut, you can see how the roof structure of these round huts is supported…


The woman of the house was grinding maize for dinner…


…while her little boy was mesmerized by the foreign visitors….


Their make shift beds didn’t look very comfortable…reminded me of some of the beds we have been staying in 🙂 which have felt like wooden planks…


…their water cans and market baskets hung on the wall…


…but every woman, around the world, needs their mirror


I didn’t take too many photos at this village, as this is where we first encountered the frustrating experience of being swarmed, as if by bees, by villagers wanting money for photos to be taken of them. This was very discouraging and so I, at first, did not give into this practice. I did capture this photo (although a bit washed out by the sun), showing the native dress of this tribe’s women…


After leaving, we happened upon this herd of camels walking along the road. Even our driver was surprised to see this, as they are not indigenous to this area, and so there are only a small number of them in this part of the world which wandered across the desert many years ago and now reside in southern Ethiopia.


Then we happened upon what appeared to be a community meeting…not enough goods around to indicate a market. Our guide surmised that it could be a meeting called to try to convince the parents to send their kids to school, as this type of meeting is called from time to time.


Our next stop was at a village of the Dorze tribe. The Dorze huts are quite unique…the guide books said they were like beehives, but the village rep told us that they were designed to look like elephants….note the two little flares for ears, and the bulge in front representing the trunk…


They also use false banana leaves for their roofs and for the walls as well, rather than hay or other materials…these leaves are very strong and a hut can last for the lifetime of the couple…(see more below about the false banana leaves)


The Dorze tribe is famous for their weaving. Though their village is up on the hillside, they own cotton fields in the lowlands, bringing this cotton up to their village for weaving. (somehow, I didn’t take a photo of the many colorful scarves, table cloths, etc., but I did buy a beautiful red wrap!).


Here you see the woman scraping off the pulp from the false banana leaf….they are called this as they look like banana leaves, but they do not bear the fruit of banana. But they find many uses for this plant, besides being used as a building material…


…including kneading and cutting the pulp….


…then flattening like a pancake….cooking over an open fire…


….and serving with honey…yum.


We arrived in time to see part of a tribal dance that was being performed…


The children were particularly attentive to the dancers….


And then….the children invited some of us to join in…and of course, I obliged…


…after which the kids gave me the universal “high five” salute…


We also tried the local liquor here made from honey….gag…was stronger than grappa 🙂

What a wonderful introduction to their culture….


On to our accommodations for the night….no hot water again !!! Wow, do I ever appreciate even more than before….hot showers!

Tomorrow, it’s time for crocs….and I don’t mean the shoes :-)…

Location:Omo Valley, Ethiopia

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1 Response to ">Saturday, January 28. Alaba and Dorze Tribes."

  1. mdwebneck says:

    >OK
    the architecture geek in me needs to know
    How were the oversized reeds(?) attached at the top to support the roof
    that's a pretty big dome roof for a mud hut

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