Monday, September 5, 2011

Maybe the only redeeming quality of a road trip in Ethiopia using public transport is the scenery. On the way to Welayita Sodo, a 3 day by bus riding experience, my campward party of 5 traveled from the Oromo Region to the Southern Nations Nationalities and People's Region (SNNPR). In SNNPR, the inset plant is very popular. With exception to its much larger leaves, inset looks very similar to a banana tree, hence its English name, false banana'. Within SNNPR and other regions where it grows well, inset is utilized in a variety of ways by use of both its roots and leaves.

The root of the inset plant is a main ingredient for gamfo (sounds like: 'gum-foe'), a porridge dish served with butter and birbire spice (think paprika), and for q'ocha, a hard gummy tortilla-like bread. Leaves of the inset are used to preserve foods and the spine of the leaves can be dried to produce tough fibers for rope. Above is a photo taken while traveling to Welayita Sodo from Jimma. The traditionally built house in this photo is within the SNNPR region of Ethiopia. It is huge. The 8ft + inset trees to its right are dwarfed in comparison.

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