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Lalibela local community

Very beautiful Ethiopian highlander women, in Lalibela market

The local people on the mountains are farmers.

For generations and generations they have been living up on the mountains in a way which hasn't changed much from the very old times.

You will be taken back in time, things you haven’t seen in your life and won’t be able to see easily again, will surprise and amaze you.

There is no electricity, no shower, no holiday but every day hard work on the fields, where they grow barley, potatoes and some lentils.

But the people love their land and are very reluctant to leave it. 

Since there is no electrical power, there are no machines which will help to fulfill the daily duties. All is done by hand or with animals.

The fields are ploughed with a strong ox and with an odd wooden plough. Little shepherds are running day in-day out on the land, taking care of the animals, which are the biggest treasure to the people. They are shy and humble, happy to see new faces, which is the very same with the adults.

 Their overwhelming, warm heartiness welcomes and will touch you.

It’s always a big event and joy for them to invite strangers, who are willing to come all the long way from other places and countries to see how they are living.

The villagers live in big, round huts; quite a few of them are scattered around in the mountains.

There is always a fire place in the middle of the hut, which is also the centre of the family life. When it gets dark outside, they are sitting around it, sharing the food, telling stories and exchanging the news of the day.

Also the animals share the huts at night. They have a separate spot in there, directly underneath the beds of the locals, which are erected on a second level, built from wood, branches, straw, hey, leaves - whatever is available to make a soft, comfortable mattress.The water they use will be brought from a clear mountain water stream, the flour they need is grinded by hand on a huge, old, for generations used stone with a smaller one on top.

The villagers brew the local beer (TELLA) from barley and they bake INJERA - Ethiopia’s very famous and beloved kind of bread - on a huge plate above the fire.

Around the house there are always several flat straw plates which are used to dry and separate the grains from the hull.

Yogurt and cheese, which is not everywhere available in Ethiopia, is produced old style from fresh cow milk and I can tell you: It is delicious!

In times of festivities a goat or a sheep will be slaughtered, then all the neighbor and family members are invited and they celebrate together.

Since there is the weekly big local market in Lalibela on Saturdays, they collect what they can afford to sell there and walk the long trek down.

In the mountains there is a small, open air market on Thursdays, where many local people gather.It’s very rare to see other tourists here.

Sugar, coffee, oil, sweets, other kinds of bread, medicine, clothes, shoes, pencils, drawing paper for the kids, balls or any kind of school materials are not available in the mountains - all of it has to be brought from somewhere else (and there is no shop - it’s only what the people can carry on their shoulders when trekking home from Lalibela or so), which makes it always a great and very much appreciated gift.

These people in the mountains live a very different life compared to any other Ethiopian.

Trekking in Ethiopia, especially in this area, is definitely and always a very special experience. Being able to see, hear, smell, touch and try it all, and being part of it for a while, will leave a deep impression on you.

Ethiopian old highlander man walking his horse, on the mountain near Lalibela
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