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    Posted January 16, 2014 by
    Lalibela, Ethiopia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

    Portraits of Ethiopia - The Farmer's Daughter

    I was hiking up a mountain behind the town of Lalibela, Ethiopia to visit one of the famours rock-hewn churches, Asheton Maryam. Off in the distance I saw a family of farmers working their barley. I stepped off the mountain path and walked through their fields to greet them. This is what I found.

    This family was cutting their barley by driving oxen pulling a threshing board onto it, after harvesting and drying. There was an old man, and his 3 children - 2 daughters and a son. The oldest daughter was doing the bulk of the work. Raising a wooden pitchfork to stir the barley and propel the oxen, she propelled herself endlessly into the tiring and under-appreciated manual labor that comes with being a farmer's daughter in rural Ethiopia. The older boy mainly stood by and watched, occasionally stirring the grain. The younger daughter, too young to have enough strength to drive the oxen or stir the barley, stood by, fetching water as needed. The father occasionally got in the mix with his daughter (and occasionally son) to drive the oxen, but mostly gave instructions, as he was advanced in age and unable to sustain the manual labor over a long period of time.

    So, as usual, the work fell squarely on the shoulders of the one who was probably the least appreciated, most underfed, least wanted, and probably most abused - the oldest daughter.
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