The Culture of Chewing Qat in Ethiopia

Posted in Experience
The Culture of Chewing Qat in Ethiopia

“Harar people don’t eat food so much; they chew qat,” Alem explained. I had asked Alem to take me to the qat market in Awaday, a town a few miles northeast of Harar, allegedly both the origin of the plant and the only place of non-stop commerce in Ethiopia, with vendors shilling qat 24/7. In the heart of the main qat market, buyers and sellers racing around with immense bundles of the leaves formed a mass of humanity that was difficult to navigate. He had sold his qat harvest for the day—approximately 10 kilograms—and was winding down, chewing with friends. She told me that she had more than 100 qat trees mixed in among coffee bushes and stalks of corn.

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