In all the excitement over the more famous tribes of Omo Valley (the Hamer and the Mursi), one tribe fell through the cracks and was left out: The Dorze. To all you Dorze reading this blog, I extend my sincere apologies, and I’ll make it up to you with this flattering post.
Unlike some other tribes, the Dorze don’t have extreme body modifications or bloody rituals, and they dress more or less like other Ethiopians. Nevertheless, they’re a cool tribe. Let’s start with their houses:
They’re built very tall. The reason for this is that termites eat the houses from the bottom up. By building them tall, they last longer. One can more or less tell how old a house is by its height. On the inside, they’re fairly cozy, featuring traditional homemade chairs:
They cultivate banana plants, but not the type of banana plants that bear fruit; they’re “false banana” plants, which bear no fruit. You may wonder why they would do such a thing, and the answer is that they use the pulp, from the stems, to make bread. It’s “false banana bread” and it’s quite good. First, they extract the pulp from the stems as shown here:
Then the pulp is sealed and left to ferment for several days:
Next, the pulp is diced until it has the right consistency:
Then it’s formed into patties and carefully cooked. Banana leaves are placed around it so that it doesn’t burn:
When it’s done, it can be served to hungry farenjis, along with hot sauce and honey:
It can be accompanied with traditional Dorze schnapps, which is also very good. You may be wondering how you say “le’hayim” in Dorze. They do it like this (the man on our left is my driver):
The Dorze are famous for their weaving and knitting. All along the road, leading to their villages, one can see them selling their wares. When they dance, they tend to use their buttocks. Coming down from the village, we were stopped by a “dancing roadblock.” The video gets interesting toward the end.