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Dorze People

High on the misty hills of Gamo Highlands in Southern Ethiopia lives an ancient tribe. They live in beehive dome huts that look fragile but stand the test of time. They weave bright-hued fabric, keep livestock and grow vegetables, false bananas, herbs, spices, fruit and even tobacco. Once mighty warriors, the Dorze people of today are deeply connected to nature.

They have become true nature warriors, protecting land and habitats and living inspiring lives of community, goodwill and purpose. Living on the hills of Ethiopia, Dorze people construct giant beehive-like homes structured on vertical poles. Clusters of beehive huts include a separate kitchen, workshop, guest houses and animal pens. These animal huts protect their animals from the elements and those sneaky animal rustlers. These homes are eco-friendly and can be transported and relocated in case of termite attacks. However, with each move, the dome huts get shorter.

Dorez people are able subsistence farmers with an innate knowledge of soil erosion prevention techniques. The terrace off the mountainsides to grow cereals and their beehive huts, vegetables, fruit, sweet-smelling spices, and enset (false banana trees) thrive in their constant care. Goats, cows and chickens roam the hilly homes of Dorez people, adding more vitality to their lives.

Even though some Western writers claim that weaving was not an indigenous occupation, Dorez people weave beautifully hued fabric. The women deliver bundles of raw cotton to the lowlands for spinning and dyeing. They spin cotton with admirable dexterity, and mostly men weave those into the colourful fabric.

Their food choices include dishes made with false bananas (enset). The plant looks a bit like conventional banana trees but bears no fruit, simply giant leaves. The Dorze people use the false banana stump to create numerous unique dishes, including porridge, fried enset, and pancake.

Following the tradition of ancient tribes across the globe, the women in the Dorez tribe shoulder the bulk of the family responsibility. They look after the little ones, spin cotton, collect firewood, concoct delectable dishes and take care of most chores. The men spend time on their farms and build huts. Their lives are busy as bees intertwined with each other and the misty hills where they dwell in harmony.

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