NOTE: This is directly from my journaling the night after this experience in Omo Valley, January 2014 (2006 in Ethiopia) unless its bold and italics
We stopped to pick up some boys from the Banna tribe en route to the market in Key Afar. The 4 boys had hair styled the same bright bands on their arms. I asked Emany about them. He said all of them had just “jumped the bulls”. I had heard a bit about this and I knew once a boy jumped the bull he was ready to choose a mate. I assumed it was more a coming of age thing but the younger 2 boys could not have been more than 8. Age is irrelevant here. They piled in the back seat and smiled at me. They were feeling proud and went to the market to starting looking for girls.
NOTE: If you have heard my radio show in February, these are the boys that sang our welcome song.
At the Thursday market members of the Banna, Hamer, and Tsemay tribes bring food, livestock, and wares to trade sell or barter. Art dealers set up large displays of masks, statues, and jewelry for tourists to ponder. I did not see any artist selling their own work. The people are colorful but also busy so taking photos is a bit easier and more comfortable here.
Feathers, strings of bottle caps, bright beads, body paint, western t-shirts, and gourds adorned the body’s. Now that I had stayed in a Hamer village and drank out of the pumpkin sized half gourds I realized that the women who wore them on the heads were just carrying their units around that way for convenience and tradition of course. I bought heaps of bracelets, necklaces, after a day, I realize that I bought some head dresses too though I did not realize it at the time.
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