Monday, February 6, 2012

Tribal Villages

Since I'm suffering a little from the "if this is Tuesday, it must be Belgium" syndrome, I'm going to skip to the most recent days and catch up on the rest later.
The tribal villages are all south of Addis Ababa.

The Alaba, which I already wrote about; high hats for the men, houses painted by the women.

The Derashe tribe; we stopped at their market; there was a gray-haired woman there and we compared tresses (it's unusual to see gray hair on women here) but she wouldn't let me take a picture of her.

The Konso tribe...they are well-known for their terraced farming. They build their walled villages in concentric "layers"' with the eldest living at the top, and the youngest at the lowest layer. The village is very beautiful.

At the top,they make a monument, each generation adding a log when they reach 18 years.

The famous Mursi tribe, many of the women with large plates in their lower lip; they are striking when the plates are in place, but kind of ugly when they take them out and the stretched lips dangle!

I tried to bring home one of the headdresses,but they aren't allowed to sell them.
These boys were at the side of the road when we were driving to the village...a promise of things to come!

We stopped at a market and saw some Bani tribe people with beautiful bead work;

We went on to a Hamer Village, outside of Turmi. The women dress their hair with a combination of ochre, water and a binding resin; they then twist strands again and again to create coppery-colored tresses known as goscha, a sign of health and welfare. Quite remarkable!

It was HOT,HOT, HOT, so we drank the last of our vodka tonics as we tried to cool off...

The "glasses" are the top and bottom halves of a water bottle...

The road ended at the Omo River

and the Karo tribe. They have great body painting, but most of the men carry Kalyshnikovs and are a little intimidating...

The Arbore tribe's women are beaded and decorated and undergo circumcision at 14, when they move to their husband's family's house.

The young boys paint their faces

and the old men are characters, like old men everywhere!

The last tribe we encountered were the Sidamo, Protestant Christians who also paint their houses

We are on our way back to Addis Ababa, where I hope to post this...our flight home is at 2AM in the morning, so the rest of the details will come after we're home. It's been a fabulous trip, and I'm VERY ready to come home!

Location:Agawash Lodge, Yirga Alem, Ethiopia


  1. Fascinating! That red hair, goscha, is amazing. It does sadden me that they circumcise and marry off their 14-year-old girls.

    I am surprised how hot it is there at this time of year. I haven't looked at a map, so maybe their seasons are flipped from ours?

    I am eager for you to return home tomorrow!!! :D

  2. What fascinating encounters! Photos of the tribespeople in that area always draw me in; to be with them in person .... I can't even imagine. What a journey!

    Look forward to your return :)