The Compass Edge

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thecompassedge.net is a web project maintained by Brian Jones to log his and others' experiences while traveling to and working in regions off the standard travel map.


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To contact Brian write to brian@thecompassedge.net


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there are plenty more photos on this site. please browse the archives
  • August 2004
  • May 2004
  • April 2004
  • February 2004
  • December 2003
  • November 2003
  • October 2003
  • January 2003
  • December 2002
  • November 2002
  • July 2002
  • June 2002
  • Hadish in the light

    Posted by Brian Jones, Wednesday, December 24, 2003

    Hadishlight (33k image)

    Rain is a blessed thing, particularly in years that have been designated 'drought years'. On top of that there's always something spectacular about a good storm and so the thump of thunder had people running outside to see the rain come hissing down in great sheets. It rained on and off for hours and the most striking thing was the beauty of the storm light that infused everything with a golden glow.

    We were on our way to Sodo, a small provincial town in Wolayta which has a telecom office that we hoped to be able to make telephone calls from. Areka, the town in Boloso Sorie where we were living had had no electricity for more than 4 days and it was time to establish some form of contact with the outside world. I took the photo in one of the rare breaks in the rain storm.

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    Tukel kitchen

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 22, 2003

    tukelkitchen (52k image)

    In contrast to the picture below with the raw meat, this is a typical kitchen in a tukel where meat of any kind, raw or otherwise, is an unheard of luxury. The pot is made from clay and used to boil sweet potato, yam, taro or amicho the root part of the enset plant. For many, root crops make up the largest proportion of the daily diet.

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    Raw meat

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 22, 2003

    Rawmeatmeal (57k image)

    This is for those vegetarians amongst you! Raw meat or tre sega is considered a delicacy here in Ethiopia. The meat is brought in great lumps and people dive in and cut it into small, bite sized lumps before dipping it in a spicy, chilli sauce reminiscent of Japanese horse radish sauce, wrapping it in injera (the bread like pancake you can see) and popping it into ones mouth.

    The taste is........ok. It tends to be a bit chewy but the taste itself is not too bad although it took some time to overcome the aversion to eating hunks of raw, quivering, uncooked meat. It's supposed to be bad for the worms though :-)

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    Proportional piling

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 22, 2003

    Proportionalpiling (57k image)

    Proportional piling is a technique used to get people to express the different importance of issues, events and things to a particular community. Here we are using beans to represent the total number of people in the community (100 beans in total) and the participants, who are all from the poorest income group called mangkwa are arranging the beans to indicate the rough proportions of people in the four income strata in Bolosso Sorie.

    The arrangement of the beans usually involves lengthy and often heated debate and is an incredibly useful tool for answering specific questions of amount, whilst also allowing you to delve deep into the ways in which people conceptualise the world around them. In other words is the arguments around the basic question that reveal more about the situation than the 'answer' itself.

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    Enset the 'tree against famine'

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 22, 2003

    EnsetintheDakwa (75k image)

    Here you can see the darkwa or home garden of top most wealth strata in Bolosso Sorie. Firstly you note that the house you can see is not a typical tukel ie circular with a thatched roof but is built of wood and mud and has a tin roof. Secondly the green foliage that looks like banana is the enset tree or false banana, which is so typical of the region. Agriculturally the area is known for the 'enset complex' which is a system that depends largely on the use of enset as a staple food. The complex is reliant on a fine balance between livestock ownership and enset, which is kept around the house and benefits fromt the manure supplied by the cattle.

    For the system to be fully functioning the household should have both cattle and enset in its immature and mature forms, which are harvested and replanted throughout the year. One of the important problems of the area is that the traditional enset reserves have been erroded by successive droughts and people no longer have access to the enset and cattle they once had.

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    The team

    Posted by Brian Jones, Wednesday, December 3, 2003

    team (43k image)

    Dejene, Tadewos and Tsadiku all members of the nutrition survey team

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    Wood chopping

    Posted by Brian Jones, Tuesday, December 2, 2003

    Woodchopping (93k image)

    The wood chopping was taking place in one village in order to provide wood for a new house that was being built.

    There seems to be a lot of pine trees in the area and they are often used as a sort of screen around houses to create a private compound.

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    Abaynesh smiles

    Posted by Brian Jones, Tuesday, December 2, 2003

    Smiles (52k image)

    This is Abaynesh who lives in the Kabele of Hereje in Bolosso Sorie. She was a great help during the nutrition survey and often had the team laughing.

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    Threshing Teff

    Posted by Brian Jones, Tuesday, December 2, 2003

    threshingteff (83k image)

    This is a typical scene at the moment. A group of boys is in the process of threshing teff by piling it in an area that has been beaten flat and then beating the teff stalks with long sticks to release the tiny grains. Often cattle are brought in to walk over the pile as well.

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    Stooks of Teff waiting to be threshed

    Posted by Brian Jones, Tuesday, December 2, 2003

    tefftothresh (74k image)

    Teff is an extraordinary grain which is used to make the staple food, injera, here in Ethiopia. It's extraordinary because it's so small and it's difficult to believe that it's possible to farm it viably and obtain a sufficient harvest. Now, November, is the main harvest period and it's possible to see these mounds of Teff waiting to be threshed, all over the place

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    Malaria is killing thousands in Ethiopia in 2003

    Posted by Brian Jones, Tuesday, December 2, 2003

    sickmannson (52k image)

    Mekonnen is recuperating at home with his son Tadesse. There is currently a huge malaria epidemic in Ethiopia and there has been for the majority of 2003 and Mekonnen is one of its many victims. Whilst he rests at home he is not able to provide for his family. The malaria has to a large extent defined the emergency in Ethiopia during 2003. In a family of 7 people, AT LEAST 5 of them will have been ill. This inevitably includes the productive members of the family who are unable to work. Malaria has also proven to be a very large economic burden as people have been forced to divert existing funds to obtaining treatment or have been forced to sell their productive assets such as animals and land to be able to get medication. Sadly, for those in the very lowest income bracket like Mekonnen, there is no way to get funds and they often go un treated. They either live or they die and many have and continue to die this year. Mekonnen's fever has passed leaving him very weak, thin and in need of rest but thankfully alive. He is lucky that his wife can go out and get food for the family. Many are not so fortunate.

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    A barrow load of chickens

    Posted by Brian Jones, Tuesday, December 2, 2003

    barrowofchicks (77k image)

    I never really thought of chickens as something you shovelled into a wheel barrow but here they are.........

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    Main street of Areka town in Bolosso Sorie

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    Arekastreet (71k image)

    Areka is a small settlement nestled amongst green fields and hills. It's the administrative capital of Bolosso Sorie and attracts a crowd of people on a market day. The main street is a dusty, unmade up affair bustling with people buying and selling produce. There is a healthy population of street goats and street cows and chickens that offer ever present obstacles to movement as they stand placidly in the middle of the road chewing old papers or the odd plastic bag.

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    Family shot

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    bolossofamily (45k image)

    This is a highly posed shot but I like it :-) It's of Yohannes and his family inside their tukel. I'm always amazed at how accomodating people are when we turn up and ask many impertinent questions and want to manhandle their children.

    Yohannes acknowledged that this year has been a particularly bad one but that the situation at the present time had improved slightly. However, there is fear over what the future will bring and with only 0.125 hectares of land to farm, on which he plants teff and sweet potatos, Yohannes struggles to support his family.

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    Taking an arm circumference measurement

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    Muacing (54k image)

    The Mid Upper Arm Circumference or MUAC is often used to rapidly assess nutritional status as it has a strong and proven corellation to risk of death.

    In this picture Miserich is holding Tadewos for Tsadiku to take his MUAC measurement.

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    Child having his arm circumference measured

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    heightmeasure (51k image)

    MUAC or Mid Upper Arm Circumference is often used as a way of quickly assessing nutritional status as there is a strong and proven corellation between the muac measurement and the risk of death.

    In this case Miserich is holding Tadewos whilst he has his muac taken by Tsadiku.

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    Nutrition survey

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    surveymeasure (60k image)

    Another picture of a child being weighed with a 25 kg Salter scale. The scale is being held up by two sturdy assistants and Tsadiku is taking the measurement and calling out the weight to be noted down by Dejene sitting off picture to the left.

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    child being weighted during a nutrition survey

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    childweight (68k image)

    I recently did a nutrition survey in Bolosso Sorie which followed a standard 30 x 30 cluster methodology to estimate the prevalence of acute malnutrition in the area. For the survey we used 6 teams of people to measure 900 children randomly chosen from 44 kabeles (administrative units) in Bolosso Sorie. The survey indicated a prevalence of acute malnutrition of 8.7 % which is in line with previous surveys but still about 2 times what it should be for the time of year.

    The photo shows a young child in the weighing pants being weighed. Most of the time children hate being suspended in the pants but this one seems to be not too bothered. He turned out to be a bouncingly healthy child.....

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    Dirt

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    dirtnflies (61k image)

    It's incredible to see small children encrusted in flies and sadly it's an all too common sight here. It's difficult to advocate for more washing when water is such an issue but it's clear that a frenetic burst of hygiene would go a long way towards solving the fly problem.

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    Hand dug well

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    handugwell (83k image)

    Where do you get water from? Well the majority gather it from rivers or springs, both of which are 'unprotected' water sources and are often highly contaminated. Some people have access to wells and this is an example of a hand dug well of around 30 m deep. The well has been capped and a large clay pot used to form the mouth. The woman is dropping a long rope with a tin can on the end to pull up water which has to meet the drinking, cooking, washing and cleaning needs of her family.

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    What do people eat?

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    localmeal (59k image)

    It's November and the optimum time for food security in the area. November is the time of the main harvest after the rains of August and September. People have maize in their stores and are harvesting sweet potato and both can be seen in photo, boiled and served for all to dip in and take. The rolls of grey are injera made, in this case, from a mixture of teff and maize. For many this is all there is to eat, day in and day out.

    One of the main cash crops of the area is coffee and people are often to be found roasting the beans and making a heady brew which is taken not with sugar but with salt. The first time I got given a cup I nearly spat it across the room! Another interesting variation is the use of butter in coffee which imparts a somewhat decidedly cowy overtone to the whole experience.

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    Tukel

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    potsintukel (79k image)

    It's really striking how different the tukels often are inside with some being very dark or very basic and others being light and airy with an inherent sense of order. In fact the light tukels are usually a sign of relative poverty because the family does not have the money to buy the grass or wood to fully insulate the walls and thatch.

    This belonged to a man with advanced elephantitis who had been sick with malaria for some time and unable to work. He was sitting at home with his 2 year old son whilst his wife went to the near by market to try her hand at some petty trading to bring in a meagre income.

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    Inside a tukel

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    insidetukel (55k image)

    This is a picture taken inside one of the tukels and shows the cow tethered in one area of the hut, a chicken wondering around in the other.

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    Beehive Tukel

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    beehivetukel (92k image)

    There is a fantastic collection of huts or tukels in Ethiopia and every region has a distinctive style. In
    Bolosso there are two main styles; the first is the beehive tukel pictured above, where the thatch come right down to the ground. The second style has distinct mud walls with a thatch that comes down only to the level of the door.

    The tukel houses a family, usually consisting of the head of the household (usually male) and his wife (or ONE of his wives in the case of Bolosso Sorie) and a range of children. It's not uncommon to find 2 or even three children below five in the house.

    Each hit is divided inside with a distinct area for a cow or ox and a goat in the richer households. Chickens are also a common household occupant and are perch themselves in the rafters or in special nests attached to the walls.

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    Green famine

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    Greenfamine (67k image)

    It's strange to look at the landscape here in Bolosso Sorie woreda, Wolayta, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples region, Southern Ethiopia, in all its greeness and know that there is a real problem of food insecurity that undoubtedly led to the death of and further impoverishment of the inhabitants of the area this year. When you look at the environment and see green hills and fields with maize, sweet potato or teff (ethiopian grain used to make injera, the uniquely Ethiopian fermented bread), it's difficult to imagine that people could go hungry. However, Bolosso Sorie has one of the highest population densities in Ethiopia and the average land holding is less than 1/4 of a hectare with almost 1/3rd of people not having any land at all. So, depite the apparent greeness of the place people find it incredibly difficult to produce even a fraction of the food they need to sustain themselves and their families...........which means that they must purchase their food, which means you need cash income, and the opportunities for cash income are few and far between........

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    Sunset in Wolayta

    Posted by Brian Jones, Monday, December 1, 2003

    sunsetcows (30k image)

    Evennings and early mornings are incredibly beautiful, infused with a warm light that flatters everything. This is a typical evenning scene of cows being brought in for the evenning to the tukel, or houses that they share with their human masters. A feature of the area is the dust and everything that moves leaves a tell tale trail behind it often looking like smoke. The picture captures the dramatic scenes of dust trails and evenning light.

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