The Land of the Bulls

The continent overwhelms to the extent that it eludes logic; it grabs us by its excessiveness and consumes us more quickly.
Jaques Richard Molard

Ar - bore

We are the bulls of the land

„Ar“ means bull, „Bore“ is the ground. A bull is a powerful animal. It is the chief of the herd. He leads and defends it. This is exactly how the Arbore see themselves. They are the bulls of the land in southwestern Ethiopia. They are strong, they take care of the piece of earth on and from which they live. The approximately 4,000 people live from field farming and their herds. In the floodplain of the Woito River, they cultivate sorghum twice a year. Their pride and joy, however, are their cattle.














Initiated friendship

The first time I was in Ethiopia in 1993. I was studying social anthropology and did field research among the Arbore people for my degree. During my first stay there, I was assigned a Bamira. Bamira means best friend or soul sister. Rufo, my Bamira, and I did not choose each other. Rufo was chosen for me by the village elders and in return I was made to be her Bamira. It was my initiation into their society.

My Bamira and I became truly friends with the passing of time, with all the ups and downs that such a friendship between two people of completely different cultures must inevitably have. With her help, I became integrated into a family. So I was able to accompany, observe and question its individual members in their daily activities. Today, when I come to Arbore, I visit friends.

3 Perspectives

Who they are, what they are like and what else there is in Ethiopia

Arbore People
Texts and Photos
A different Ethiopia




Researcher, Observer, Narrator