The Kara Tribe – Friday Sept 21st

With the tire situation we decided to crowd into one car and send the other to the major town Jinka to get new tires, linking up with a car driving down from Addis.  We arrived in time for lunch at a lodge and campground on the banks of the Omo River.  The camp is shaded by large trees, a great spot to get out of the sun.  The camp owners didn’t know if we wanted to use tents or rooms, so we opted for rooms, but I may try a tent before the visit is done.  They look quite comfortable!

This area is the home of the Kara tribe, and the village we visited has one of the most breathtaking locations possible, high up on a bluff overlooking a curve in the Omo River and the valley beyond.  It is truly spectacular!  The Kara tribe are very friendly and invite us to chat and they even have a bar serving beer (even more surprising given the lack of electricity and running water)!

After chatting with them I find out they love football and I agree to bring them a football when we return later in the day.  As I hand it over there are expressions of joy and the boys immediately start playing with it.  They are quite skilled!  I had a long discussion about Manchester United and Chelsea with several of the men and they are very aware of the latest news.  I see one of the boys wearing an old Peterborough recreation team football shirt and it makes me realize they would really benefit from receiving our old soccer shirts and balls.  That is something to follow up on later.

In the evening I try the shower in my room and the water runs brown and gunky, totally disgusting!  This is the first time I have been turned off in Ethiopia.  Worst still, the muddy water pools on the bathroom floor as the drain is not at the low point, all in all not a pretty sight.  The lodge agreed to give me a new room and this time I try a bucket shower instead.  It is basically taking a shower with a bucket of warm water.  Definitely much better than a mud bath!

As I reflect on my shower, I recognize my muddy shower is what these people have each day.  I don’t hear them complaining about it!


6 thoughts

  1. After seeing a picture of the river, I understand why you might have had a “dirty” shower. The body paint is made from what substance? And, the beads and art work are amazing. Silver bands?

    • Hi Gayle,
      The body pint is made from ochre clay, as I understand it. Reading around this on wikipedia, the clay is natural and is colored by various pigments from oxides in the earth. We saw the clay available for sale in the local markets and Piper purchased some as a gift for one of the Kara tribesmen.
      I don’t know about the silver bands. We did come across gold bands for sale which we believe are made of brass, the result of melting down the casings from bullets.
      How they made the beads is beyond me. They are beautiful and I hve no idea what they are made of. The colors are so vibrant, I also don’t know how they occur naturally.
      Great questions; I’ll have to go back and ask. 🙂

  2. What is that old Kebmo song, “We are victims of comfort..” Lori and I stayed in a hut in Mexico once and found the bucket shower quite nice. Andy, these photos are a knock out! You can publish a book with this work. It is truly inspired! I’m packing my bags for Ethiopia tonight. Makes me want to share my photos from South Africa and Mozambique with you and Frank if I can get organized to do so. Thanks again for bringing us to Ethiopia with you.

  3. Angela, you are right, this is all the water the locals have to bath in and drink. It does highlight how little they have and yet how satisfied there are with what is available to them. It made me realize how fortunate I am!

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