HIGHLIGHTS Sun 21 Dec: Dassanech Tribe

Sunday, December 21, 2014
Konso, Ethiopia
Passing through open grassy savannah like country, I was really surprised at the 40 km Chinese built road where we were able to travel along it at 100 km.


Soon it ran out just before the immigration control point at Omorate – 72 kms from Turmi and it was back to that fine clay like dust. As we were so close to the Kenyan border, we had to show our passports at the Immigration Controlling Post.







Across the Omo River by these 2 dugout canoes hollowed out from fig trees. Never seen one so crooked. This will soon change with the opening of a new bridge across the Omo River.


I had my own local 13 year old outgoing school boy Sisay who throughout the photo taking time with his excellent English, assisted me by getting generally 2 mothers and their babies together, ensuring that I had their faces in the sunlight and moving "unwanted" subjects out of the way ..... He asked if I wanted to be in the photo with one of the group. Gave him my camera and away he clicked like a pro. Asked Sisay what he wanted to be career wise .... an engineer. This country needs more locally trained engineer so I wish him well in his life's quest.

A group of four 12 and 13 year old girls wanted 50 birr / NZ$3.30 / US$2.45 for a group dance as we left the village. They also chanted "1, 2, 3, 4 for 10 birr" as we walked back to the river.





This was the last of the Omo Valley tribal visits. Somehow it felt at times like a factory tour. Not being critical at all, but generally we heard a little bit about each tribe, then the locals all lined up like a cattle auction..... choose me and take my photo. 5 birr was the going rate. For children it could be 2 or 3 birrs and they accepted coins whereas the adults did not like coins or thorn notes. Most of the mothers wanted 5 birrs for their baby as well. I suppose that this was one way for them to earn a few birrs. More often than not it was an expressionless facial and often not straight on to the camera that we got.

The encounter was all too brief. Just seeing the subsistence living style and how the different tribes are currently living was eye opening. I wonder how this will all change as more and more tourists descend to the Omo Valley with the road access to the area being made easier and more and more accommodation being built. It took us 2 days to drive here and then another 2 days to drive back to Addis. No doubt a local regional airport will be opened one day especially if oil or minerals are found.
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