HIGHLIGHTS Fri 19 Dec: Karo Tribe, Hamar Tribe

Friday, December 19, 2014
Turmi, Ethiopia
Karo Tribe – Kolcho Village

The many sounds of the night filled the air including the Colobus monkeys and the dawning of another day greeted me as I walked up the small rise behind the campsite to capture the sunrise.


Was the 90 minute off road trip to the Karo village worth it for such a short encounter? A definite "YES".

Stopped by one of the many termite mounds.

A turtle was crossing the road so we just had to stop.

We passed a lorry coming away loaded to the gunwales with bales of cotton.

On reaching Kolcho, one of three Karo villages, I was quite amazed at the green vista of the Omo River arching in a beautiful horseshoe below us. I was expecting a muddy slow moving river snaking its way across the plains.



Told not to take any photos so we waited till after the introduction to this village under the shade of a large tree. It was hot! The villagers stood around us. I am sure that a few understood what was being said.


The Karo people are noted for their painted dotted body paint. Karo men and women decorate their faces and bodies with paint made from chalk and ochre to increase their attractiveness to the opposite sex.

Afterwards it was free for all with the photo taking. Again I went to another compound from the others and as expected some villagers followed. With hand gestures, choose the groups of two or three that I wanted to capture. Mainly family groups and today wanted to try and capture a range of ages. The others lined up and tried to get my attention for me to take their images. With hand gestures and smiles, asked them to move out of frame plus after reviewing yesterday's efforts tried to ensure I had no sky plus used a hut roof as a background.

Got into the habit of confirming the price 5, 10, 15 ... and with my 5 birrs in one pocket and the 10's in another, it was easy to satisfy the subjects' financial compensation. Yes, it felt like a factory at times and very quickly my day's "clicking" allocation emptied out of my 2 pockets. It felt like a National Geographic but in real life and in 3D. I wished that I was able to have an unrestricted session so that I could focus on the likes of their hair braiding, facial decorations, jewellery and dress.

Photo time but with an AK47 that one of local men had.




Hamar Tribe

Late afternoon off to see a local Hamar tribe living literally at the back of the campsite.

The goats were being returned after the day grazing.

Getting a smile or any change in their facial expression was not easy. Somehow it felt very much of everyone just going through the routine of posing for photos and there was no energy or spontaneity at all. Yes, it was a really friendly tribe. 

Set on the flat plain with a 360 degree view, the sun slowly set and honestly the untouched colours in these photos are more intense than what my eye saw. Just love the clouds. No, they are not storm clouds.

I wonder how their life will be after the technical college is opened that is directly at the end of the road to their village? The same applies to the whole country as the effect of electricity as it slowly snakes its way to the four corners of the country and modern western influence will slowly but surely invades their once traditional nomadic life style.

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