Published: October 2005
Did You Know?
In Did You Know? the National Geographic magazine team shares extra information we gathered to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects.

You probably didn't know that Afar men dress their hair with clarified butter. The butter, known as ghee, conditions their hair and protects it from the sun's brutal rays. Afar men's hair is often worn teased out in large Afro-style hairdos, or else woven into tight curls and liberally applied with ghee. Women wear their hair carefully combed and arranged in a series of shiny hanging ringlets.

Ghee is also a very important food and commodity among the Afar. The selling of milk and butter products is a job for women and children, and women retain the income earned from dairy product sales. At weekly markets in the foothills of the Ethiopian Highlands the Afar trade milk, ghee, salt, and livestock with Tigrayan and Amharic people in exchange for eggs, spices, vegetables, grain, fabric, and luxury items like soap, aluminum cooking utensils, and jewelry.

—Taryn Salinas