Abraham and Sarah. Creators of a productive landscape.

© Strecker
53 minutes / Colour / 2017
Directed by
Ivo Strecker

Anthropologist Ivo Strecker

Country of production Germany

Series Guardians of Productive Landscapes

In the highlands of Tigray - northern Ethiopia - on the edge of the escarpment that descends steeply to the Danakil dessert, Hagos Mashisho and Desta Gidey have toiled and struggled for years to turn the rugged slopes of the East African Rift Valley into fertile ground. They have grown crops here not only to feed themselves and their family, but also to share with others, in particular the pilgrims who regularly pass by on their way to the monastery of Gundagundo. Touched by the kindness of their hosts, the pilgrims have given them the biblical names "Abraham" and "Sarah". The film explores the work ethos and grace of these Tigrean farmers: the cheerful mood with which they do what needs to be done; the devotedness to the tasks at hand; the coordinated movements of humans and animals as they work when ploughing, sowing, harvesting, threshing; - and finally those moments of invocation when the dependence on nature and the transcendent are acknowledged. "Abraham & Sarah" is the first film in a series entitled "Guardians of productive landscapes" currently produced under the auspices of the Department of Integration and Conflict at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany. It can be seen as a contribution to an applied anthropology that tunes in with the rising awareness that rapidly increasing environmental degradation threatens the earth. Humanity is at the crossroads where life as we know it will soon collapse unless we muster all our ingenuity for inward and outward persuasion to find ways to overcome the current crisis.

Language and subtitles English Tigrinya

Region North and Northeast Africa

Country Ethiopia

Keywords Rural Agriculture / Farming