Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Harar Coffee & Chat

Harar, one of the four holy cities. A beautiful city on the hillside. Located about 1 1/2 hours outside of Dire Dawa.  The city is known for commercial production of Harar coffee. Unfortunately, another small town just outside of Harar is also known for chat. Chat is a narcotic much like marijuana (but legal) that is sold to many in Ethiopia and although it takes more time to grow and harvest chat, it makes more money than selling coffee beans. Many fields that once were coffee fields are now fields of chat.

On Monday we had the opportunity to visit a coffee bean plantation. Hilu, the plantation owner, was gracious to have us. We were able to meet with him and all the families that lived in the village.

Jeff Power, one of our GHNI leaders, recorded a video with the plantation owner to put on his blog about how the exporters of Harar coffee need to pay more money per kilo to the farmers so they are no longer reliant on chat to help make ends meet. The average income of the families in this village is 6 to 10 birr a day which equals to less than $1.00 USD. The current exchange rate is 17 birr to our $1.00. Imagine supporting your family with that little amount of money.

One of the families shared with me their twin babies.

Batam konjo! (Very beautiful).

One thing all of us women noticed while we were on this trip is how loving and affectionate the people of Ethiopia are. They have no problem showing affection whether that be hugging, holding eachother around the waist, holding hands, putting their arms around another. They were not shy.

And they love their pictures to be taken. After taking each picture, we would show the child or adult what the picture looked like on the camera screen. Many in the far of villages had not seen a picture of themselves. Mirrors are unheard of as is vanity for that matter.

You can see the coffee trees behind in this picture. I never knew that coffee actually grew on trees. I always thought that they grew on bushes.

After visiting the village we were able to go into the City of Harar and visit the spice market. We also had a traditional dinner and participated in a coffee ceremony. I will post more about this later along with some more pictures.

Tomorrow we will be going to Megdali again. Thursday we will be in Garmaam and Friday in Hurso.

Do you have any questions you want me to ask of the people in the villages?


  1. Ethiopians have a very distinct look. There was one woman in one of the photos that looked very similar to the woman in the 58: film. I'm fascinated by the homes you can see in the backgrounds of these photos.

    I can't think of any questions....if I do, I'll come back : )

  2. What an education a person can receive by coming here. I too did not know that coffee grew on trees nor had I heard of chat.

    Is it mud on the houses?

  3. Yes many of the houses are made of mud and palm trees leaves. Some of the nicer houses in the villages are made with euclyptus branches. I will have more pictures of the houses posted soon. The more traditional houses have the circular roof much like a yurt in the states. Jill, I agree they do have a distinct look. And they are all so beautiful.

  4. Are there schools and medical clinics nearby ?

    What do most people do all day ?

    What kind of entertainment do they have ?

    Do they barter or have currency ?

    Take great care on your sojourn.

  5. Hi Nene, thanks for asking questions. In two of the 3 villages that we have been to so far do have small schools. Only one of them had a health clinic (Garmaam). Most of the days are spent working. Cutting wood to take into town to sell. And then they have to walk miles to town so that takes a big chunk of the day. If they do not have water in their village then they have to walk to the nearest water hole to fill up jugs to take back to village. They do barter if they have items to barter with such as goats, chickens, mules, etc but sometimes they will just sell them for birr to buy other items that they need for their family.


I *heart* comments!

- Copyright 2020 imnotsuperwoman.com - Designed By: Layne Design Studio -