Falasha - Settlements



The Falasha traditionally lived in scattered hamlets or villages in the northern Ethiopian countryside, some in all-Falasha villages, others in mixed villages, in which Amhara-Tigray Christians and (in Tigray) Muslims also lived. Although family groups (married sons of a man often chose to reside in the same village) often lived together in one area, the hamlets or villages had no clear kinship basis, the Falasha population being fairly mobile geographically. A married couple and their children inhabited the common highland tukul (a hut constructed of wood, straw, mud, and dried cow dung). A village had an average population of 150 to 200 persons. Before the 1960s, very few Falasha lived in towns like Gonder or Asmara (those who did, did so mainly for proximity to schools). Only in the 1960s and 1970s did some Falasha traders and laborers move to the larger villages and towns, but, especially after 1974-1975, many young men left their villages for a few years of national service in the Ethiopian army. Some became teachers, medical assistants in clinics, or clerical workers. In Israel, where Falasha, as new immigrants without resources, necessarily live in a state of dependency on government agencies, most are settled in "development towns," often in clusters of relatives and friends. Virtually none live in rural settlements. After the first years of their "absorption process," guided by state agencies, they may, if they are able to find jobs and housing, move to cities in the center of the country.

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