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Sunday, March 23, 2008

The beautiful Hamars

The Beautiful Hamars
Sunday 23 March 2008
We drove to Turmi to the west of Jinka. 6 hours across different terrain. It rained and the roads became muddy. When we reached Turmi, I was appalled by the state of accommodation in this even more godforsaken place. I was first brought to a 50 birr per room place with a very dirty common toilet with flush that didn't work. I needed to charge my camera battery but none of the rooms had power sockets.
I protested and the driver brought me to an eco-lodge whose spacious 350 birr rooms have attached bathrooms. Certainly looks like a higher end place and the tourists who stay there appear to be elderly and affluent Italian and German tourists. I was so tired that I had a quick lunch, paid the 350 birr charge and then had a nap. When I woke up, I was horrified to find that neither the shower and toilet flush worked. I protested to the hotel manager who explained that the water system and the power generator were down. They were waiting for technicians from Addis. This was ridiculous as I have paid for seven times the price of the cheaper place precisely I thought they had those things which I discovered to be non-functioning! Outrageous!
I decided that I could not stay in Turmi for more than one night. We were going to do a visit to the nearby Hamar village that evening and that was enough for me. It was too bad that the famous Hamar bull-leaping ceremony wasn't on and I am not interested in paying for a staged cultural dance. Neither do I want to stay another night to see the Turmi market, for I have had enough of markets.
At 5pm, a local guide brought me on a walking tour of the nearby Hamar village. The Hamars are another proud pastoral tribe. They are the most beautiful nomadic tribe I have seen so far in the South Omo. They are also not pushy for photos and are polite and courteous. I took many photos here, including a few of a young warrior with elaborate body scars to commemorate his slaying of many enemies. I took so many photos of pretty young Hamar women in their topless tribal wear that I suddenly realized that I might be mistaken for a soft porn photographer.
I later spoke to other tourists and all of us agreed the Hamar are such a beautiful people.

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