Tribesman, near Geda Yesus, Amhara, Ethiopia

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The office today, man and cow, near Geda Yesus village about 40km north of Dejen. This is about as Old Testament as it gets apart from the AK47. The people here haven’t seen rain for two years, and adjacent to where this picture was taken is a waterhole which services two kebele (villages) totalling about 1500 people. It’s a trickle – women queue all day for a chance to fill a 20l jerry can with a cup, then carry it back to their village. Life is unbelievably tough, the landscape is harsh, mortality is high. Sustenance is provided by the government but the diet is poor.

Going back to Ethiopia

I’m back over to Ethiopia in a less than 4 weeks with my son Ben to film a few projects near Debre Markos, and also down south in the Kaffe region. Ben is in Transition Year and it’ll be his first trip to sub Saharan Africa. A great way to spend two weeks from TY, and a great way to broaden your world view.

adventures in Berbere

I arrived back from Ethiopia, last Saturday Dec 7th after a long and tiring journey from the South, but sadly my luggage didn’t make it back with me. It got lost in the bowels of Heathrow somewhere – I had landed in London in the midst of an ATC nightmare, where pretty much all of the south of England was at a standstill. After an exasperating few days trying to get through to British Airways lost luggage department in Heathrow and their conterparts in Dublin Serviseair, it transpired that the luggage had been forwarded to Dublin alright, but the paperwork had been mixed up with another set of luggage, and the people in either office didn’t seem to have the gumption to check the clearly labelled tag with my name, address and phone number printed on it in an attempt to reunite me with my possessions. Anyhow, last night it arrived, nearly six days later with everything intact. Thanks be.

One of the things in my luggage was a half kg of Berebere, the red chilli spice which is an essential part of Ethiopian cuisine. In an attempt to remember Ethiopia through my tastebuds, I’m going to try to recreate a sauce I had many times with injera, the sourdough flatbread which is both eating utensil and tablecloth. I’m going to leave the injera for another time/experiment because it’s made from a grain called teff which isn’t available here (I think).

So, 1st attempt:

1 medium onion chopped
1 large clove garlic minced
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 level tbsp berbers
1 cup red lentils washed
3 cups water
2 tbsp tomato puree

Result:

Yeah, not that exciting, spice is good, needs a bit of salt. A bit bland, it would be inedible if it weren’t for the Berbere. Must try harder.

2nd attempt:
as above except chop in some chorizo.

Result:

Much better, the smoky tones of the chorizo really come alive in the lentil stew.

Julian & Andrew

Somewhere above Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 2008
Ilford XP2, Rolleicord, medium format
My introduction to Africa and location sound recording! An amazing trip with some incredible people.

My Big Idea

My Big Idea

Irish student Tara McGrath has pioneered the development of a fuel efficient stove which she wants to field test in southern Ethiopia with ngo Self Help Africa. Chronic respiratory infections are caused by breathing in wood smoke from indoor cooking fires and Tara’s stove could help reduce this problem as well as the burden on the environment.

Client: RTÉ
Production: Liberty Films
Producer: Claire Ryan
Director: Julian Hills

Camera: Andrew Edger
Editor/Location Sound: Hugh Chaloner

editing: Ethiopia 08

This beautiful young woman was the hostess in a coffee ceremony I witnessed in a region called Sodo in southern Ethiopia. I made the trip to Ethiopia during Easter as part of a film crew, the crew was there to film a documentary about a young Irish girl who is hoping to make a difference to the lives of Ethiopian woman with an invention she devised.

There’s an account of the documentary and trip in a the works available soon

In the meantime, please drop by and have a look at my Ethiopian pictures on flickr.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157604234627285″]

Thanks.

food: Berbere

I have my mate George Jacob to thank for introducing me to berbere, a blend of spices often used in Ethiopian cookery. George is the Communications Officer for Self Help which promotes and implements integrated sustainable development programmes in rural Africa. His work takes him to all sorts of exotic and far flung places in Africa, and on one his travels, he brought back some berbere. This bright red powder can be used in all sorts of cooking activities – used as a spice rub for meats before grilling / roasting etc. It is fantastic stuff with a mighty kick.

 

yerweirdethiopianshit.jpg

Berbere

I have my mate George Jacob to thank for introducing me to berbere, a blend of spices often used in Ethiopian cookery. George is the Communications Officer for Self Help which promotes and implements integrated sustainable development programmes in rural Africa. His work takes him to all sorts of exotic and far flung places in Africa, and on one his travels, he brought back some berbere. This bright red powder can be used in all sorts of cooking activities – used as a spice rub for meats before grilling / roasting etc. It is fantastic stuff with a mighty kick.

 

yerweirdethiopianshit.jpg