24. Januar 2014

Visiting the Mursi With the Lip Plates / Zu den Mursi mit den Tellerlippen

For sure you have already seen pictures of them: women with huge plates in their lips, headdresses and exceptional hair style. They belong to the Mursi tribe, which is also living in the Omo Valley, mainly in the Mago National Park. In Jinka we organize tour guide Jilekey, who will bring us to the Mursi villages. Without a guide you are not allowed to enter the National Park. Actually you are supposed to also take a security guard along, but we have just a 2-seater, which means we already have to place Jilekey on the floor of our cabin. There is no space for another person. After a longer discussion at the park gate between our guide and the warden and after paying the fee for the security guard we can finally enter the park - without the guard.

Each tour guide has his favorite Mursi village. The one of Jilekey is located about 60 km in the park. On our arrival all residents come our way. Curiously they are standing around our camper. Sure, a vehicle like ours they probably haven't seen so far - and for a certainty not a travel dog. Thus we have put Momo into the cabin shortly before we arrived. A good decision, for now it is getting quite intense (yes, we were prepared for this, still...).

22. Januar 2014

The Hamar Tribe, The Bull Jump and My Horror / Die Hamar, ihr Sprung über die Rinder und mein Entsetzen

This young Hamar is going to do the bull jump later on.
Dieser junge Hamar wird später den Sprung über die Rinder absolvieren müssen
The Hamar women warm themselves up for the whipping ceremony.
Die Hamar Frauen bringen sich in die richtige Stimmung für die "Auspeitsch"-Zeremonie.
The Maza is whipping the young Hamar with a green fine stick.
Der Maza schlägt die junge Hamar mit einer frischen feinen Rute.
Blood is flowing, but the women do not show any pain at all.
Der Rücken ist blutig geschlagen, doch die Frauen zeigen keinen Schmerz.
Instead they are encouraging themselves for the next whippings...
Stattdessen spornen sie sich gegenseitig an für die nächsten Schläge...
I am just wondering what he is thinking about it?
Was "Mann" sich wohl dabei denkt?

 "If you are lucky, you can witness a traditional "bull jump"-ceremony of the Hamar tribe", a tour guide has told us under way. Hence we ask around, and indeed, on Saturday afternoon there will be one taking place somewhere deep up-country. Around lunchtime we follow a guide's car (you will never find the right Hamar village by your own) in Dimeka. After leaving the well maintained gravel road to Turmi we drive inland for another hour before we finally spot the jumping and boisterous Hamar women. We have arrived. The next hours we are going to witness a ritual which will stir me up even for quite a while.

17. Januar 2014

Colorful Market Bustle in the Omo Valley / Buntes Markttreiben im Omo-Valley

Young Hamar woman - so beautiful
Eine junge Hamar - einfach wunderschön
I don't know her tribe, but her smile is just infectious.
Welchem Stamm sie angehört, weiß ich leider nicht,
aber in jedem Fall, dass ihr Lächeln sehr ansteckend ist.
Very cool I
Sehr cool I
Very cool II
Sehr cool II
Very cool III, or rather: Mister "Very cool";-)?
Sehr cool III, oder eher: Mister Cool schlechthin;-)?
Just for your information: these are men (and: no, they are not gay.
In Ethiopia - as well as in some other countries - groups of men
are walking with arms around or holding hands, as it is part
of their culture and a gesture of friendship.)
Nur zur Information: das sind Männer (und: nein, sie sind nicht homosexuell.
In Äthiopien - ebenso wie in manchen anderen Ländern -
ist es Teil der Kultur und eine Geste der Freundschaft,
wenn Männer Hand in Hand oder Arm in Arm gehen.)

Another advantage of the Lake Turkana route: it leads us fast and directly into the Omo Valley, one of Africa's and the world's last great undiscovered places. More than 20 indigenous tribes are living in that remote area. This is why anthropologists regard the region as a living museum. Humans as museum pieces? Hmmm, strange view...

9. Januar 2014

Lake Turkana, Kenia's Jade Sea / Lake Turkana, Kenias Jadesee

Topis wandering along the Lake Turkana
Topis ziehen am Ufer des Lake Turkana entlang
Flamingos feeding in Lake Turkana
Flamingos bei der Nahrungssuche im Lake Turkana

Encounter with an old fisherman, near to Loiyangalani
Begegnung mit einem alten Fischer, kurz vor Loiyangalani

If you are following our blog, you already know: the Lake Turkana in the northwest of Kenya is said to be most inhospitable, since it is hot, dry and much windy. The route along the lake is full of pitfalls (s. our post
Lake Turkana Route: Infamous, and Justifiable So). Yet we are thrilled about our time here. The terrific volcanic landscape is fascinating, as well as the view onto the lake, which is also referred to as the Jade Sea due to the remarkable turquoise colour of its water. It is no coincidence that the Lake Turkana National Parks are now listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

8. Januar 2014

Loiyongalani - A Little Hamlet with a Cool Catwalk / Loiyangalani - Kleines Nest mit coolem Laufsteg

First sight of Loiyongalani
Erster Blick auf Loiyangalani
Main road of Loiyangalani
Die Hauptstraße in Loiyangalani

Finally! In the later afternoon, after a long drive through a bizarre, unreal appearing landscape, we arrive in Loiyongalani, a little hamlet situated a few hundred meters away from the shore of Lake Turkana and with the only freshwater source far and wide. It is hot and dry, and on top of it a strong wind is getting up all of a sudden. The two campsites we are checking out are in a bad state. Hence we ask the mission, and we are lucky! We may stay on the site of the African Inland Church, and even more: the next afternoon missioner Paul and his wife Callie invite us for a sundowner. That way we learn some interesting, funny and astonishing stories about their live full of privation at the back of beyond. We are deeply impressed by their discipline of mastering the local challenges.