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The Market at Keyafer

February 14, 2017

The rains refuse to come in the Omo Valley. It has been three years since there has been a substantial fall. Most rivers have dried up and the cattle herders have to drive their animals for long distances to where there is water. Then then the water has to be dug for them by hand then ladled out into a trough They bring their herd down every three days and by the third day many animals are hardly alive and when finally get a drink they often wander off in a daze. Chapy was driving through both goat, sheep and cattle herds for a good part of the day. The animals are so thin and they are the breed that appear resigned to whatever befalls them. Chapy is the owner of the company and our driver. Gino is our guide. There are just the two of us with them. Gino is from the local Hamer tribe and knows five languages as well as English and Amheric. A good bloke to have with you when things get a little misunderstood like at the market visited in the afternoon. Many of the tribes come down for this weekly event dressed in the different regalia of each. The women have a variety of hair styles and their jewelry is very interesting. Some of the tribes hear practice polygamy and you can tell if the woman is a man’s 1st, 2nd or 3rd wife by the jewelry she wears around her neck. They like their beer here and at the markets there were quite a few home brew bars where they were serving both sorghum and honey brewed beer which they drink out of gourds. The women carry their gourd on top of their head like a hat. Then they take it down, get if filled, and ‘bob’s your uncle’. I was offered a drink but not sure just how hygienic it all was. The going rate for taking a photo is 5 burr or about 20cUS. But that is not just the one, you can take as many as you like once you’ve paid. There were some very tall almost arrogant boys of the Hamer tribe at the market that had passed the initiation into manhood by jumping the bulls but hadn’t found a wife. They condescended to having their photo taken. It was all a very colourful experience. Driving along this morning we came upon a sad sight. A young member of a baboon family had been killed by a car. It was lying splattered on the side of the road. Another baboon about the same age was sitting a metre or so away from the body with a very sad look on its face. He refused to move when we walked back to take a photo. The beehives they hang from the trees are interesting. They are like a cylinder about a metre in length. The keepers then climb the tree and put some honeycomb in the hive which in turn attracts the bees and if all goes to plan, the queen. When the honey is ready to extract they use long sticks to release it.

One Comment
  1. Denis and Sandy permalink

    G & J… Still following your exploits. Has Joan recovered? Denis and Sandy

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