Tuesday, January 20, 2015

omorate, ethiopia:

After spending the night camping in a Hamer village, we were up early driving west towards the town of Omorate. Situated only a few kilometres from the Kenyan border, we made the side trip to see and learn about the Dassanech people. After making our way across the Omo river in a dugout canoe we were quite surprised at how quickly the landscape changed from lush greenery along the river banks, to desolate and vast desert. After walking for what seemed like ages in the midday heat (it was HOT) we arrived at a village. It was quite different to the Hamer village we had previously stayed in, with the huts made from what looked like reclaimed materials such as corrugated iron.

Our stay was unfortunately only short, but it was incredibly interesting to see the differences not only between the two tribes we had now seen, but how the landscape and surrounds influenced the livelihoods of the different villages.

next: Dimeka

crossing the omo river

andrew and a new friend escorting us through the desert

girls taking water back to their village

Sunday, January 18, 2015

turmi, ethiopia:

I am so excited to share our trip to Ethiopia with you, with whole journey being one of the most epic adventures we have ever had!

Ethiopia is a large and vast country - both geographically and culturally. From the mountains in the north to the desert of the east, lush forest of the west and savannah in the south - it is so rich in diversity and history! With only three weeks, we tried to experience a good amount of what Ethiopia had to offer, spending time in the south, east and north of the country. 

We started our trip in the south, heading straight down upon our arrival in Addis Ababa. The south of Ethiopia is where the Omo valley is situated and where we would spend the next eight days exploring, learning about the incredible rich cultures of the area. With our 4x4 we first headed to Turmi and it's surrounds to learn about the Hamer people. 
The Hamer are pastoralists whose livelihood depends greatly on their livestock. They are also famed for their striking appearance, clothed in colourful threads and ornate jewellery plus beautifully manicured dreads, which are coloured red. 
Andrew and I were lucky to spend the night camping in one of the Hamer villages, having brought our own camping gear, rather than stay in accommodation in town. It made for an authentic and truly special experience, where we were able to witness Hamer village life firsthand.

Another highlight of our time with the Hamer people was witnessing a 'bull jumping ceremony'. Occurring on average, only once a month, we were so very lucky to be in the area on a day when this was happening. A coming of age ceremony, a young boy is to jump up and run on the backs of bulls four times before is he then able to eventually marry. After walking through the bush for a good 40 minutes, we came to a clearing where the ceremony was to take place, full of Hamer villagers from all over the area. The mood was very supportive with dancing and singing to encourage the boy for his task. Upon his success the party then starts and continues for the next few days. It was an incredible sight and an amazing introduction to Ethiopia!

next: Omorate

a gorgeous hamer woman at turmi market


andrew setting up our tent with an audience

in the village

outside the village school

getting ready for the bull jumping ceremony

the women dance and sing to encourage the boy

incredible athleticism!

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