Mesob. In modern urban Ethiopian homes, families eat around a dinner table. In the most traditional tribal area, people sit on the ground to eat. But there’s something in between modernity and subsistence: the mesob, a woven round wicker basket that can sit as high as three or four feet tall. It has a lid, and when you remove it, there’s a place in the center for a tray of food. Each diner sits on a small stool, about eight inches high, called a barchuma, and everyone then eats from the common tray of food.
Large mesobs play the role of dinner table in a more traditional Ethiopian home. But mesobscome in many sizes, and the smaller ones may be decorative, or they can be good places to store household items. The smallest ones, called a mudai, can sit on a tabletop, and they make an excellent place to keep jewelry or nicknacks. Needless to say, the more colorful the mesob, the more craft that went into making it. The largest ones can take several months to make.