Sunday, January 15, 2017

Omo Region Day 3

After a good night’s rest we met up in the lobby at 8:30 for our day of driving to get to the Omo region.  Our drivers were late because they couldn’t find fuel ANYWHERE!  In Ethiopia the government had changed the fuel prices but the fuel attendants at the stations could not change the pumps themselves so they had to wait for a government leader to change the price on the fuel pumps.  Our drivers eventually got some fuel from the black market and then two hours later we were on our way.

 This was the beginning of a four day road trip.  A long, hot and dusty road trip literally in the middle of the Ethiopian desert!!  You know that road from Mesquite to Vegas.  Think of that only with dusty pot holey roads.  That was us!  

We traveled about 300 kms to get to Alduba Market where we were in a completely different culture.  As we walked around the market we learned about three differing tribes in that region that travel many kilometers on foot to get to the Tuesday market.  Once a week, on Tuesdays, the tribes come together and buy and sell livestock, crafts, grains, tea etc…..It was very interesting learning about the Hamar, Bena, and Tsemay Tribes.  

Some interesting facts about the Tribes:

Both the Hamar and Bena women can be identified by their hairstyle.  It is short looking braids that resemble a bowlcut.  For the women who are married or are soon to be they mix red clay and butter together and lather their hair down.  They are privileged to have shiny hair!  

The Hamar women wear a goatskin around their necks that somewhat cover their bodies.  Not completely though!  They also adorn themselves with colorful beads as well as shell necklaces.

The women wear thick metal necklaces announcing their marital status.  The first wife wears a type of a yoke necklace and then other metal necklaces for each number of plural wives.  The second and third wives just wear the metal necklace signifying that they are a plural wife.  These necklaces once put on will never come off!  They are thick and look heavy and hot.  I feel so bad for these women.   What a hard thing to have to bear.

The hero men of the tribe (the ones who bring big game for the tribe) wear a clay cap on their head which they paint and decorate with feathers.  They also use scarification to show of their heroism.  Scarification is when the people cut themselves with a razor blade and put plants on the wound to help them heal.  The wound when healed will bubble up and make a scar on their body.  Many of the women of differing tribes scar their bodies because they think it makes them more beautiful.  
The men from this tribe often also carry a small wooden chair wherever they go.  It sits only about 8 to 10 inches tall and the men sit right down on them.  It looks extremely uncomfortable but Elder Phelps bought two (not one…two)  and tried it out and said it wasn’t too badJ  It’s kind of fun to see the men carrying these little chairs as they are walking down the highway.

When we first arrived at the market, this little girl (below) came up to me and held on to my hand.  She walked hand-in-hand with me for some time.  She kept touching my wedding band and even tried to pull it off my finger.  She was intrigued by Rick's and President Collings' watches.  She was a really cute girl and stayed with us for much of the time we were there.

When the people come to the Tuesday market they do their shopping in the morning and then sit under a big tree and drink homemade alcohol and do their visiting for the week.  There was a HUGE group just hanging out when we were there.  They don’t like their pictures taken but we were allowed to take some from a distance.  Before leaving we were able to buy a few trinkets from the market.  We bought the chairs, and a decorated gourd used for storing money and/or drink.

Later that evening we were able to go into the Hamar Tribe Village.  There were only women and children there.  We were able to take many pictures at a price of five Birr each.  Five Birr is equal to 22 cents.  There were many women wanting there picture taken!

After our visit to the village we made our way back to the hotel for dinner and rest.  We stayed at the Turmi Lodge and we found ourselves in a very rustic place.  Our rooms were clean but very basic.  The thing that bothered me the most were the two HUGE spiders that we found there.  One was on the floor by my side of the bed.  Rick checked under the bed also just to make sure.  My mind was thinking about those spiders and quite possibly scorpions in my bed.  We pulled back the covers to make sure we were bug free and then got in for the night.  I would be lying if I told you that I had a restful sleep.  I kept thinking about spiders and scorpions getting into my bed so I would pull my legs up into the fetal position to protect myself from any biting/stinging creatures.  
Anyway, my mind (and my mosquito bites ) kept me up a lot during the night!  

Our trinkets that we bought from the market and Hamar Tribe.
Two chairs, a decorated gourd, a goatbell made of cow horn, and a cowbell made of a desert turtle shell.

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