Ethiopia: The Tribal Omar valley

In this remote corner of the country tribal customs are strong and very visible. Bigger roads, tourists and other outside influences don’t seem to have made much difference to the lives of those who live in the surrounding villages. This area belongs to the Hammer tribe identifiable by the ladies distinctive V shaped leather dresses, shells and hair coated in coloured beeswax.

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Three of us on the road

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Aurelien cycling down hill in the distance.

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No, it’s not a giant upturned bowl of rice.. It’s cotton. Let’s hope they don’t have a strong gust of wind!

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This is where the road starts to get a bit rough..

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It’s for protecting the goats and cows from rival tribes..

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Prices for white people seems to go a bit crazy in this area.. Being charged 5 times the local price is quite common. In this case the ‘hotel’ tried over charge us by some extortionate rate. Even after I pointed out there was no running water or electricity but they wouldn’t budge. Instead we asked a shop keeper if we could camp in his compound – No problem!

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Red flower

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Bumped into two girls from the hammer tribe out collecting firewood

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Out hunting

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These birds kept following us..

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Buying eggs from the Hammer tribes people. They were rubbish! More water than egg white and most remained liquid even after boiling.

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Aurelien contemplates buying a bundle of sticks

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A weekly market is fascinating because it brings out the people who live in the villages some way from the main road.

Bull jumping ceremony
It’s as peculiar as it sounds. Some families choose to open it to tourists, through the owner of a local campsite and the money goes to the various interests. Its not just a show for the tourists, it’s a once in a lifetime event for the participants. The man can only marry if he can cross the line of cows twice without falling. If he falls he must wait a whole year before he tries again.

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Bulls are assembled

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Women relatives of the man wear loud bells around their ankles, blow horns and circle the cows..

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Onlooker watch as..

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..the man runs naked across the backs of a line of cows

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There is also the custom where the men whip the women relatives so they can show their devotion to the jumper. This convinced me it’s not just a show for the tourists.

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Mission accomplished, the jumper donnes a purple shawl and everyone disappears leaving behind a bewildered group cows.

Categories: Africa, Ethiopia | Leave a comment

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