Blogs from Turmi, Southern Nations Region, Ethiopia, Africa


Africa » Ethiopia » Southern Nations Region » Turmi October 30th 2012

Hundreds of bodies litter the killing field. Many still twitch as the cherry red blood bubbles out of slit necks and pools in the mud. Blood-splattered butchers hunch over the bodies, their axes methodically rising and falling as they hack through flesh and bone. Others peel away the skin with long curved black bladed knives. Cows that had fifteen minutes before been chased across the field by squealing children are now fat marbled slabs of meat laid out on eucalyptus leaves for sale. Near a pile of steaming entrails and flesh covered skulls, a woman squats in front of a plastic bucket churning blood, allegedly for drinking. Perhaps this, like kort, as the raw meat dish is called in Ethiopia, is a delicacy. The hecatomb is to celebrate Meskel, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian holiday commemorating the ... read more
dorze blood lady
mursi warrior
mursi woman

Africa » Ethiopia » Southern Nations Region » Turmi August 26th 2011

ETHIOPIA...Jumping with the HAMAR All roads lead to Turmi...but only if you are heading that way...I surmise...but if you travel in another direction...well it may go anywhere...but there. "That's a Desert Rose...I've seen those in Central Australia...but how can they be Southern Ethiopia?" So Mike was given the task of finding we scoured the scrub for others...and then we saw it...a substantial specimen...shapely...well endowed... golden firm trunk...lightly clad in pink flower...let's stop and take a photo? Look left...the Desert Rose...but I can only see the lustrous brown Desert Rose leaning on the stick gate opposite... shapely...well endowed... firm breasted... clad only in a cow skin skirt...a smiling young mother...a child on one leg...another wide eyed and gazing. So Mike & I photograph the pink Desert Rose...then... read more
A Hamar mother smiles

Africa » Ethiopia » Southern Nations Region » Turmi August 12th 2011

ETHIOPIA...THE KARO...Handsome is an Art Form. I am not a Rainbow Warrior...I am not even a warrior...but I inadvertently walked into a major World ecological impacting controversy on 25 January 2011 when I visited the Mursi...when the President was in Jinka (see last blog)...and then the Karo and Hamar and other tribes...and I am not yet ready to walk out. Welcome to the Karo...a true jewel of African tribes...the smallest of the South Omo River Valley tribes...possibly the friendliest...whose lifestyle and survival is very much in question. While Mali was pure adventure...West African...serendipity in overdrive...quirky stories...mesmerizing music...poor, handsome, honest, friendly a harsh but diverse locale... Ethiopia was a complete contrast. A country with "a growth rate of about 11% over the last 5 to 6 years" as also advised by my economi... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Southern Nations Region » Turmi June 19th 2010

What an exciting week! The Lower Omo Valley, famous for its exotic tribes and outstanding scenery is a very difficult area to travel in without your own transport unless you are happy to just see the tribes on the main bus route or pay extortionate prices for a seat in an ISUZU truck. It is 4WD drive territory and these can be hired for US$150 per day. Being cheapskates we tried to find some other people to hire the car with but at this time there was just no-one around. The most annoying aspect in trying to arrange transport is the presumption about how much money we have, what we should be prepared to pay and what is a fair price. We eventually found a minibus to Konso, the gateway to the Omo Valley. Catching public ... read more
The colourful people from the Mursi tribe in the Mago National Park
A Mursi woman and her two children
A Mursi woman with one of the largest lip plates

Africa » Ethiopia » Southern Nations Region » Turmi March 1st 2010

Leaving Addis Well it's been a while since my last update. Almost a month. In fact it wouldn't have been quite so long if I hadn't deleted - without saving - my previous attempt last week; an idiocy so depressing and annoying (it having taken most of the day to write!) that I have been putting this second attempt off until now, knowing that if I don't write something soon, I probably never will again. The draft I deleted was undoubtedly some of my best work: witty, poingaint, overflowing with insight. In short, a joy to read. Obviously any shortcomings you find with the below are simply down to fatigue at having to attempt such heroic efforts again and I can only ask for your patience and understanding. So let's try this again... My last update ... read more
mini-IMG 1863
mini-IMG 1869
mini-IMG 1870

Africa » Ethiopia » Southern Nations Region » Turmi February 14th 2010

Geo: 4.96667, 36.4833OK, maybe this is not the land of OZ, no Munchkins, but from a cultural standpoint, it is the most unusual place I've visited in my life. Over three days we spend time in four different areas, none more then a 50 KM journey, but the going is slow, all dirt roads. The towns and villages are Key Afer, Omorate, Turmi and Dimeka. I am about as far south in Ethiopia as possible, the town of Ormate is only 25 KM from either Kenya and Sudan. It is hot and dusty. When we cross the Omo River via a log hewned canoe, the muddy water looks very inviting. The trip has been planned around the colorful market days. When I can upload photo's you'll see what I mean. Each tribe has it's own distinctive ... read more
termite mound
sorgum drying

Africa » Ethiopia » Southern Nations Region » Turmi February 3rd 2010

We can't say that we weren't warned. Other travellers told us that the Omo Valley would be a lousy experience. Our Dragoman leaders warned us not to expect too much in terms of interaction. Our expectations of the Omo Valley and the visits to the tribes living in the Valley were low as we travelled in through the beautiful scenery. I was prepared to be disappointed but I wasn't quite so prepared to be angry. The Omo is home to a number of tribal people of Ethiopia together known as the Southern Tribal Peoples. It is the home of the Mursi people - famous for the practice of its women in placing increasingly large labrets in their lips - and of a dozen or so other tribes including the Ari, Hamer, Tsamai and Bana, that are ... read more
Walking thru town

Africa » Ethiopia » Southern Nations Region » Turmi March 19th 2009

Some photos from my time in the Omo Valley with the Dasanech and Hamer Tribes, including a Hamer 'Coming of Age' Bull-jumping ceremony up in a village in the hills near Dimeka ... read more
Omo Sunset

Africa » Ethiopia » Southern Nations Region » Turmi November 23rd 2008

In our world, we have bar- and bat-mitzvahs and sweet 16 parties. We are debutants, we are strip club patrons. We undergo extreme hazing, 21-shot debaucheries, and imbibing until our stomachs need pumping. Call it what you like, do what you do; something marks as a celebration or an entrance into manhood or womanhood. And this is no different in Africa, and no different in the ethnic tribal groups of the Lower Omo Valley. The Hamer tribe is one of the largest in the Omo, numbering at around 50,000. As subsistence agropastoralists they cultivate sorghum, tobacco, cotton, vegetables and millet. They eat a lot of honey and rear cattle and goats. Their territory reaches south to Kenya and borders that of the Banna tribe. The Hamer people are famous for their masterful body decoration and techniques. ... read more
the whipper
coming off
whipper and next young boy

Africa » Ethiopia » Southern Nations Region » Turmi November 22nd 2008

In 1974 in Awash Valley, a 40% complete skeleton was found of the oldest known human, believed to date back 3.2 million years. She is now widely-known as the infamous "Lucy," and holds the Amharic name "Dinkenesh" as well. Archaeologists believe humans have inhabited the Awash Valley since the beginning of the species; the area is also famous for being the place where many hominid (pre-human) remains have been found as well. Africa isn't called the Cradle of Humanity without reason. To be more precise, this said Cradle is the area along the deep East African Rift amidst mountains, valleys, and plateaus. Historians and archaeologists believe this is the continent that all of our ancestors originated from, landing Ethiopia smack dab right in this Cradle which we all are said to have sprung from. Lucy's home ... read more
market gathering under tree
elderly Hamer woman

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