Our short visit to Omo Valley is quickly coming to an end. On our last morning we visited the Dorze Tribe on our way to the airport in Arba Minch from where we will fly back to the capital Addis Ababa. There are an estimated 30,000 Dorze people mostly living in villages near Chencha and Arba Minch. The Dorze people were once feared warriors but nowadays they are well known cotton weavers and farmers. They are also well known for their beehive huts which can stand 2 stories tall and last 80 years. These huts are made with wooden poles, woven bamboo, and other natural materials and they can be moved from place to place. When there is a termite infestation, the locals will cut the base of the hut and move it to a new location. Over time the huts become lower and lower, sometimes becoming only half the original height. The Dorze people sleep in the same huts with their cattle and goats mainly for warmth because of their location higher up in the mountains. There is an open fire for cooking in the middle of the hut with low benches around it. The sleeping areas are against the walls with a separate section for the animals. Around all these beehive huts are Enset or false banana trees, so called because they look like banana trees but do not bear fruit. The locals grind the stalk of these trees and make flat bread called Kotcho which is the staple of their diet. We were shown the process of preparing this Kotcho flat bread and even got to taste some freshly prepared ones with honey and chilli paste.
In the blink of an eye, we have to head to the airport for our flight. The wheels of the plane lifted and this primitive land fell away. It is incredible that within an hour I was transported back to the creature comforts of the modern world. Omo Valley is no doubt one of the most unique places in the world and the future of these villages and their colorful people lie in the balance. With more and more of these tribal members exchanging traditional life for modern conveniences in towns, the days of scarification, lip plates, body painting, bull jumping, and other cultural traditions appear to be numbered. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity and the experience to visit these amazing tribes while at the same time learning a lot more about myself. It was an absolutely fascinating and memorable 5 days in the Omo Valley!
This concludes my six-part Omo Valley adventures. Next post will be on Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Stay tuned!
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