Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Key Afer to Jinka - Omo Valley, Ethiopia, Day 3

Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit.
- Farangi Rule of Acquisition #162

Bana family...

bana house is just one room. to one side is the "kitchen" - just an open fire. the other side is the sleeping area. everyone sleeps on the same mat.

cooking starts at a young age.

life's a grind. this woman is a newlywed. note the bling on her arms...

dinner's on! guacamole and... an unknown substance. i had a taste of the bean-like dish. mmm...a bit gritty though...

guess what i found in the closet? an assortment of hunting implements. well not really. one of the omo's favourite pastimes is goat theft. this almost always results in conflict. i don't mean shouting matches but warfare. lot's of people die. bana people seem at peace but wouldn't hesitate to duke it out with neighbouring tribes in case of goat rustling. having said that, they pale in nastiness compared to their rivals, the mursi. we'll visit them folks tomorra.

Key Afer turned to be an interesting one-street town whose population is mostly Hamer and Bana peoples. Yesterday, late afternoon we got the chance to walk to a nearby Bana village. It's not as straight forward as you think. First, we had to buy as gifts bags of salt and coffee. Then before being admitted to the village you have to find the "gatekeeper" (tall, lean yet very imposing presence) and present him with the gifts. It's a good idea if you know how to say hello in the bana language at least. And, don't even think about sneaking in because you'll have to deal with the gatekeeper and his battle-tested spear.

Visiting a village was pretty exciting. As we walked along, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. In our particular village we got to visit 3 families. The people were very friendly I thought. We photographed whatever we wanted and paid a handsome fee for the privilege. It was a positive but a strange experience. I mean, if you turn the tables, how would a Westerner react if a group of strangers turned up his/her doorstep, proceeded to inspect his/her house, taste what's cooking on the stove, and to documented it all by taking photos? They'd probably have a shotgun ready and have 911 speed dialed on their cell phones.

I'm still having problems sleeping past 7. It didn't help the cause when the tin roof of the hotel was deluged by an early morning monsoonal rainstorm. At least I rescued the clothes from the drying line.

While I was brushing my teeth out the front door. I met a couple from Israel (the guy looked Spanish to me). They were traveling independently without a guide and were interested in helping out with a 4X4 rental. Excellent until they backed out. C'mon, a hundred bucks USD per day split 5 ways that's a killer deal. The man Adi lined up for the 4X4 this morning also backed out. The man couldn't stomach the 110 USD we were going to spoon feed him. This world is going to hell in a hand basket... Miraculously, a 4X4 came by the hotel and we snagged it for the original amount.

Off we went to Jinka. It felt so good to be in a vehicle smaller than a bus. Ride was so sweet.

Jinka's a pretty big town. A two street town with an airstrip running right up the main street. I spent much of the remaining afternoon trying to get on the internet to email home my whereabouts. I had to wait behind a guy applying for a job on workopolis. He couldn't type worth a damn. I ended up explaining Bob Marley lyrics to people waiting with me for a couple of hours. They were most curious about the line "no woman, no cry". Odd person to explain that line, eh.

Tomorrow: Mago National Park and the vaunted headhunting Mursi.

Key Afer: N5 31.391 E36 44.068 and Jinka: N5 47.072 E036 33.925.

Out of Canuckistan: A travel blog, Mar 19/07
Buy Bubba a Beer Now!


Steve H. said...

I've always admired the Farangi. They're my kind of aliens.

bubba said...

it seems that the Rules apply directly to's hilarious. stay tuned for further illustrations...