The Arbore Tribe – Thursday Sept 20th

I thought I was getting used to Ethiopia and finding it pretty normal and easy.  Our hotels have been very comfortable, the food has been good and I’ve suffered no ill effects.  Today that changed with a few new challenges to navigate.

At daybreak we visited the Arbore tribe.  They are herders and are nomadic in the sense that the men drive the cattle during the dry season to find green pastures leaving their wives and children behind in the village.  As their village is ‘permanent’, their homes are quite elaborate, with a family room, with individual bedrooms leading off of it.  The fact it is built with branches, leaves and mud is pretty incredible.

Their decoration is very striking.  The beaded necklaces are very vibrant and when set against their dark cloth scarves, it creates a strong contrast.  One thing I have noticed is the relatively rapid aging of these people compared to what we see in the west.  I don’t know how old the women are in the second picture below but I suspect it is much lower than you think given the harsh conditions in which this people and others around them live.

Piper, Barbara and I visited one family in their house and we were given coffee.  This was made specially and served in a hollowed gourd.  This coffee frankly looks pretty awful and if I drink it, what is it going to do to my insides? I can also tell this is a great honor and to refuse would be insulting.  It was warm but surprisingly OK and as I write this the next morning, I haven’t suffered any ill effects!

Talking about coffee, it is Ethiopia’s largest export and is grown widely in the East and South Western parts of the country.  The Ethiopian people treat their coffee with significant respect and with a few exceptions, it tasted fabulous!  The tribes people of the Omo Valley brew their coffee from the husk of the coffee bean and I suspect this shaped my experience this morning.


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