Ethiopia to Cape Town 2013

8 months - with Gitane - Toyota Hiace 4x4 van

Dorze and Chencha

October 11, 2013  —  Ethiopia
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Beehive huts.

Dorze is the name of a village, but also the name of an Ethiopian tribe. These people live in the Guge Mountains and the most obvious characteristic is their house in the form of a giant beehive. Dorze people are in general excellent farmers who know how to grow crops without causing land erosion.

We got a guided visit near the village in order to learn about their culture.

Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Landscapes in the area are superb. The area is at an altitude of about 2500 metres.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia

A few places in the regions are less typical. Here, modernity has changed the beehive huts for more modern houses... but they are not as nice.

However, a majority of the houses are still of a traditional style.

Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
The countryside around Dorze.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
In the fields.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Typical houses.

Our tour about the Dorze culture starts in front of these typical houses.

These houses are made to last around 50-60 years. Inside, a wood fire is lit regularly. The fire produces sooth that sticks to the roof and prevents the termites from eating the house. However, the bottom of the house is not protected and the termites can have a feast there. Thus, after some years, the house shrinks and the door must be redone when needed. When the house becomes too small, it is used as a kitchen or for couples (the left house on the photo). It is quite ingenious!

Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Inside the hut.

Here is a traditional interior with the fire protecting the house and giving warmth during the cold nights.

Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Extracting the interior of the plant.

In the following images, one can see the people preparing the bread that Dorze eat daily. It is made from a false banana tree (a plant similar to the banana tree, but that do not produce any bananas).

Some pulp is obtained by rubbing the interior of the false banana tree. This pulp ferments for three weeks before being cooked on a fire. The end result is good dense bread that is eaten with a spicy sauce or with honey.

Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Rubbing the inside of the plant.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
The pulp ferments for three weeks.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Cooking on the fire.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Bread being cooked.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
These skins and scarves are used for traditional ceremonies.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
In the village.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Spinning the cotton.

The Dorze culture is known for its excellent work in weaving. In this culture, the women perform the first step of the weaving. They take the raw cotton, untie it and make small spindles of thread.

Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Second step in preparing the thread.

From that stage, it is the men who take over and perform the weaving of scarves and blankets. In the photo, this man take all the spindles of thread made by the women and makes a single solid and long thread of cotton.

Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Weaving is made by men.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Weaving is made by men.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Thread spindles made by women.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Pottery is also an art in which the Dorze people are very good.
Dorze and Chencha - Ethiopia
Seeing a nice waterfall at the end of the tour.