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Archive for July, 2009



Tree, Gälawdios, Amhara, Ethiopia, July 2009

Published on July 20, 2009

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.


Friday Link: Top 10 Annoying Things to Say to a Wildlife Photographer

Published on July 17, 2009

Here’s a fun one: the Top Ten Annoying things to Say to a Wildlife Photographer. I’ve heard a few of these–enjoy.


Shackles, Bahir Dar, Amhara, Ethiopia, July 2009

Published on July 14, 2009

While Kes Felege he was unpacking his scribal and carving tools from a box for our interview, he pulled out a pair of shackles. A bit dumbstruck, I asked him what their relationship to scribing was. As part of the training for his Zema students (and Qene students as well), the students take a psycho-tropic […]


Village Hut, Gälawdios, Amhara, Ethiopia, July 2009

Published on July 13, 2009

A house in the rural village of Gälawdios, in the Amhara region.


Kes Fente, Gälawdios, Amhara, Ethiopia, July 2009

Published on July 10, 2009

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.


Coffee Ceremony, Gälawdios, Amhara, Ethiopia, July 2009

Published on July 9, 2009

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 […]


Liqa Kahunat Ajugu, Gälawdios, Amhara, Ethiopia, July 2009

Published on July 8, 2009

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 Mogas, Gälawdios, Amhara, Ethiopia, July 2009

Published on July 7, 2009

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.


Boy, Gälawdios, Amhara, Ethiopia, July 2009

Published on July 6, 2009

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.




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