Gälawdious, the village where I have recently been working, is in beautiful agricultural country (though suffering rather from erosion–I better understand now why Lake Tana is such a muddy brown). Here, a view from my walk out to the däbtära (magician’s) cottage.
A house in the rural village of Gälawdios, in the Amhara region.
Kes (Priest) Fente is one of numerous scribes in the village of Gälawdios, famous for its scribal tradition. Here he is adding his name to a spare bifolium which I am taking as a sample of his work.
The tradional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, always performed by women, starts with the roasting of green beans in a pan, somewhat like a wok. When they darken, they are brought around to the guests, the share the fragrant smoke.
The roasted beans are then pounded by hand in a pestle, often using rebar or a piece of an axle, which people have found to be convenient and effective replacements to traditional materials.
The ground coffee is poured into a tall-necked pot and boiled for ten minutes. The resulting thick, dark coffee is traditionally sweetened with three small spoonfuls of sugar, and guests are expected to drink three cups, the third being considered lucky (you can usually get away with fewer cups, if time is short).
Lika Kahunat (Archpriest) Ajugu, a scribe in the village of Gälawdios, in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. He works at his scribing every non-holiday, and had just finished a large copy of the 4 Gospels when we arrived, which he was going to send to Bahir Dar in search of a buyer.
Kes (Priest) Mogas, one of the many scribes active in the village of Gälawdios, adds his name to a sample of his writing. He is training his children in scribe-craft, and while I was there, one was scraping the hair off of parchment on freames behind the house.
A local boy, wearing an herbal charm around his neck, most probably to ward off the evil eye. A large portion of the däbtära’s work is herb-craft, supplemented by the reading of prayers and invocations and the making of kitab and other written amulets.