Living with The Hamar Tribe, South Omo Ethiopia

July 30 2015


I was given a piece of beaded jewellery by a local to welcome me into the village. He placed the red, green & black beaded band around my upper arm & tied it with plastic so tight it didn't come off. Now I'm a true Hamar!

I spent several mornings strolling down the sandy river bed chatting to the locals. Colobus monkeys swung from the trees lining the shore & camels strolled down the sandy bed. The Hamar men dug deep holes into the sand to tap into the water underground to quench the thirst of their herds of goats. Goat is a very popular meat here often made into stew or barbequed over hot coals. The Hamar wear the skin as clothing and also use it as a mat to sleep on. Their hairstyles are very unique mixing together ochre, water and a resin before rubbing it into their hair to create coppery coloured tresses. The men even use special carved wooned headrests known as borkotos when sleeping to protect their hairstyles!

I was welcomed inside a traditional round hut made from sticks plastered with a mixture of cow pat, mud & straw. This forms the family home with distinct areas inside for cooking, sleeping and eating. Clay pots are used for cooking & coffee ceremonies form a big part of their lives, drinking at least three cups with each meal. The Hamar are also renowned for their Bull Jumping. Whipping, teasing, screaming, horn-blowing and leaping are part of the Jumping of the Bulls ceremony, a right of passage into manhood for all Hamar boys.

Next stop...Addis Ababa Highlights. Read on >

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