HIGHLIGHTS Thurs 18 Dec: Mursi, Key Afar, Cattle

Thursday, December 18, 2014
Turmi, Ethiopia
Mursi Village WITH Cameras

Sitting by the bank of the river with the sound of the early morning birds and water rippling over the stones updating this blog in the early light before the sun had risen, along came a donkey and then a Mursi came along going about their way.

Our Scout had a rifle and so did one of the local Mursi men. About a dozen of them were back and either stood or sat watching as we packed up and had breakfast. The locals came and went. Of course we were on their tuff and our campsite on the side of the road was right besides where the locals fetched their water. So the children and ladies came with their yellow plastic water containers of different sizes.

Some had wanted our plastic water bottles.

Then the visit to the village this time armed with cameras. Yes, soon we were mobbed and I took the advice and for part of the time went away from the group but soon some ladies convinced me to take their photos.

For some I had to pay as well if they had a baby, some didn't mind.

My pile of 5 birr notes quickly went and I had to use 10 birr notes. I changed some of their 1 birr coins and 5 birr notes into 10 birr notes which was of more use to them so I had more "clicking" opportunities especially to those who were happy to accept the coins as many did not want them.

I realised that most of my photos were of the women folk but I had none of the males. Many had already left for the fields or to tend to their animals.

Some would have but I didn't mind being grabbed nicely by them trying to get my attention to take their photo. Never felt threatened.

This whole morning experience was so different to yesterday afternoon. I am glad that we came to see them then without the pressure of the crowd and photo taking.




Cattle Market Key Afar

Then away to Jinka after dropping our armed scout off at the National Park HQ.

Not far away (40 km) was Key Afar with the colourful cattle market. Mainly the Benna people with their red and black colour and braided hair were buying and selling. At one stage a bull decided enough is enough and for a few moments it felt the running of the Bulls at Pamplona with people running towards the fence to get out of the bull way.

See the wooden head rest / seats that most of the men are carrying.


Key Afar Market

Then down the hill to the even more colourful market. Of course we were accosted by the locals wanting their photos taken for a birr or five. Like most markets, it was divided into sections: household utensils, locally grown food, clothing, and wooden carving for the passing tourists no doubt.




Mango – Hamer Traditional Tourist Camp Site

Perhaps I should have had my tent pitched under the cool of the large mango tree at the MangoHamer Traditional Tourist Camp Site, 3 kms out of Turmi?

A quick check of the toilets and shower block (passed!) as this would be our home sweet home for the next 3 nights.

The Kaske riverbed was dry so no swimming to cool off. The cold water shower was far from that. In fact it was quite warm but considering I was the first one in and the pipes would have heated all day I can understand why it was very warm to begin with.

Darkness fell and at 10 pm the generator was turned off after giving us 3 much needed hours to recharge our camera and phone batteries.

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