Monday, November 28, 2011

Dabbo Diffo in Pictures

Dabbo diffo is an Ethiopian bread that can be found in most cafes. Of all the dabbo (bread) in Ethiopia, dabbo diffo is the largest I have come across. The ingredients for diffo dough are not out of the ordinary: flour, yeast, oil, salt, and sugar. But how it is prepared is likely to be much different than you'd expect. The following series of photos illustrate a common cooking process for dabbo diffo.

Three stones (or various hard objects that withstand heat) are placed at an equal distance from each other and a cooking platform is put on top to rest between them.

Leaves of qoco, (aka false banana, inset) are placed upon the cooking surface and sprinkled with water. Where the bread makes contact with the leaves, oil is applied. Then the dough is poured and spread out to cover the entire area of the cooking platform below.

Another layer of oiled and moistened leaves cover the dough to envelope it completely.

A cover is placed on top of the leaf packaged dough.

A fire is started underneath the cooking platform, between the rocks. The fire is stoked and fanned for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes or so, the fire is transferred from beneath the cooking platform to the top of the cover.

The fire on top of the cover burns for about 10 minutes and then removed so that the bread can be checked with a knife. When fully cooked, the bread is removed and left to cool

The final product is a delicious piece of this bread to eat with your shai.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Over a year ago I was living with an Ethiopian family, relearning how to eat with my hands and discovering/pushing the physical limit to the number of coffees I could consume in a single day (~14). Last week I visited my host fam's town to help out with a training for the new group of PC environment volunteers. Meeting new volunteers charged with good will and adventurous spirits is invigorating and something I can always appreciate.

The photo above is of the mountainous hill of Manaagesha. Locals say it once hosted a piece of Christ's cross and held ceremonies that made kings into kings. It was within Manaagesha's forests that I first stood in awe as monkeys swung overhead.. Amazing that I can yawn when I see them today.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


My town' s market takes place 3 times a week. The largest of these markets occurs on Saturday and extends itself to local butchers, vendors from larger cities, and crafts people from neighboring villages. Of the produce, onions and collards are almost always present. Current produce and their going prices in $-USD of the season: potatoes (.30/kg), sweet potatoes (.20/kg), guava (.10/12), corn (.30/3 ears), small bananas (.10/12), garlic (.30/3 bulbs), hot peppers (.10/1 pile), several starchy root vegetables, coffee beans (1.50/1kg), spices, and various grains sold in bulk for milling.

The photo above is of the Saturday market in my town. Clothes and other merchandise are being sold within the stands on the right and the produce is uphill on the left. Although this shot shows what the majority of the market consists of, what is not seen are the crafts people who sell baskets, mats, clay pottery, and local tobacco. Also not seen are those selling goats, chickens, cows, and sheep.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Metu-Gambela Road

Proclaimed by many truck drivers to be one of the best quality roads in Ethiopia, the Metu-Gambela road provides one of the smoothest traveling experiences you can expect to find in country. Recently paved, the M-G has had a huge influence on the towns and cities it passes through or connects. In my town, for example, its construction has led to an increase in traffic, more small businesses opening, and unfortunately, an attractive place for kids to play. Perhaps 10 years from now, I won't be able to identify my town without seeing the km marker.

The photo was taken from within my town looking west down the M-G road- the elementary school just got out for lunch.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Mulu

Having your host fill a glass all the way to the brim is something you wouldn't expect when asking for a drink, be it cold or a hot - but it's a common practice here. Some volunteers have termed the topping off of a drink as the 'mulu', which translates to 'full' in Amharic. I've been here long enough to expect the mulu service whenever recieving tea or coffee so actually feel a bit slighted if I don't see the drink on the cusp of brim breaching.

There is a technique to handling a steaming hot drink without spilling it and potentially burning one's self, beyond waiting for it to cool. If it's got a handle, you use it. Easy enough. But if it don't - like if it's hot tea served out of a shot glass - grip it by its rim with the finger tips, as my friend in the above photo demonstrates, and carefully draw it in close to sip. The only remaining question is obvious: Do you have what it takes to master the mulu?