Sunday, February 16, 2014

What the Stones Say

A group of young men gather around stones to test their force

In Konso, one way a man demonstrates his strength or the amount of force he has is by lifting stones.   Until somewhat recently, the need to record exact ages was considered unimportant.  Instead, people identified themselves by what work they were capable of doing and what labor force they represented.  Lifting stones then became a method to demonstrate to others the work force one was capable of, that one was both young and physically mature, and where one stood in terms of strength within the larger community.


An attempt at lifting the largest stone in this courtyard

The lift is pretty straight forward: pick up the stone from the ground, bring the stone to shoulder level, then raise stone above head in a controlled manner.  Drop the stone behind to release.  Repeat with greater stones as possible to find one's level of strength compared to others.  

video
Taking on a large stone in the old village of Dokaatu, Konso 

I went straight to the largest stone of one courtyard in the old village of Dokaatu and found I could lift it as instructed.  My pride was short lived however after I was told that the stone I handled was relatively small in comparison to neighboring villages.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Imported Art

A Child in Tears: "To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others"

Just about everywhere in Ethiopia I've seen laminated posters for sale or on the walls of restaurants, cafes, and the homes of friends or acquaintances that strike me as a little odd.  The posters that catch my attention more often fall into 2 categories: a combination of strange children with quotes and Photoshop fantasy.  I share this because I haven't seen anything like them prior to my time in Ethiopia.  Who knows, maybe I'll notice them elsewhere after I leave.

Photoshop fantasy in all its glory

How much for the enlightened baby poster?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Common Head Turner # 8


Sun's first touch.  Near the equator, the sun seems to travel straight up, making beautifully lit skies as brief as they are stunning.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Korkufa

Two Large Moringa Trees in Konso, Ethiopia

One of the most interesting and satisfying foods I’ve come across in Ethiopia is made from tree leaves.  In Konso, "midhaa" -leaves from the moringa tree - is eaten on a daily basis.  Sometimes midhaa is served on injera accompanying an assortment of other foods but frequently its eaten by its self, with bread, or cooked with dumplings made from corn, wheat, and/or sorghum.

Korkufa - Moringa and Dumplings (spoon optional)

Moringa leaves are nutritious and when combined with dumplings - a dish called "korkufa" - or meat it will fill you with strength and energy.  In Konso, korkufa is eaten far more frequently than dishes served with injera.  The people of Konso often eat korkufa with their hands but a spoon is used in some cases, as seen in the photo above.