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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Trumi - Dimeka Market

Where's Sigrid?

Itinerary - Day 15: Arba Minch to Turmi and the Dimeka Market
After an early breakfast, we will drive to Turmi en-route visiting different cultural people and their villages which include the Konso and the undulating landscape of Konso area.  The Konso are famous for their old and unique terracing and unusual engraved wooden statues of Konso grave markers. Between Konso and Jinka, will also have brief stops to visit the different cultural people and their villages like: Tsemay around Weito River, the Benna at Keyafer and the Ari at Kako Village.   At Dimeka, we will visit the colorful multi ethnic and multi-cultural weekly tribal market. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, fair number of the Hamer and the Bena tribes walk to the market from miles around. Here we will have the chance to see the tribes of the surrounding area in their traditional marketing activities and displaying their local handicrafts. We will also have an opportunity to bargain for varieties of handicrafts. The rest of the day, explore the surrounding of the Turmi area.

Journal: Morning
As we drive to Turmi we begin exploring in earnest the peoples and culture of southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley. To a large extent, this is the reason that Sigrid picked Ethiopia as our travel destination.  Sigrid is a closet cultural anthropologist and I suspect she was Margaret Mead in a previous life.   This is a region undergoing dramatic change. There is a lot of development, there is increasing tourist pressure, and there is a new dam under construction that will require the relocation of villages and tribes.

 Life for the peoples of the Omo Valley are very different now than they were only a few years ago, and are likely to be unrecognizable a few years hence.  Our first foray was into a small village by the side of the road - I believe these were the Ari people, then on to the Dimeka Market.

American tourists are often blamed for having negative effects on local cultures. That is not the case here, as American tourist are a small minority of the tourism found in Ethiopia.  Here we find a lot of Europeans and and in particular German tourists. As such I think we can safely blame the Germans for any negative impacts we find.  One such impact is that the local people expect to be paid when their picture is taken. We expected this, as it is flagged in the guide books and on-line services like Trip Adviser. Can't blame them. Increasing nnumbers of tourists wander through their markets, their villages, their rituals, dances and ceremonies brandishing cameras. Why not get paid?

Dimeka Market
Taking portraits is a focus for Sigrid's photography, so we were prepared for this. We explained what we wanted to achieve to Yohanes and the local guides, armed them with small bills, and let them manage the process of asking and paying for pictures. The sequence meant Sigrid was often waved off when requesting a photo, then Yohanes negotiates, and she gets the shot.  It worked pretty well.

Tour Toyota Land Cruisers at Dimeka Market

Hamer woman in the market
Big news came while we were eating lunch in Dimeka.  Yohanes (and every other tour guide in town) learned that the Hamer People were planning a Bull Jumping Ceremony this afternoon.  We'd hoped to see this ceremony, so cleared the calendar and proceeded into Hamer Country. This an off road drive, then a hike down a river bed, fording the river, another long hike through the forest, and finally the ceremony itself.

Bull Jumping
I'll include this one picture here as a placeholder, but that particular adventure deserves a separate post. With video. Which will take some time.  I'll get to it eventually.  Stay tuned...

Editiors Note: I intend to pre-load and schedule automated blog posts with the daily itinerary for our Ethiopian adventure. For those interested, this may be an easy way to follow along. Since we will not have internet access for most of the trip, my hope is this will make it easier to add some pics and journal commentary if and when we run across an internet connection. If there are no pics or commentary, you'll just have to wait until we get back. We'll see how it goes. UPDATED

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