at the market in Dimeka

life in the village

male fashion statement

The HAMAR PEOPLEx xxxThere was a market to be visited in Dimeka and several tribes along the way including the Tsamay (SAH my), Bane (BAH nah), and Hamer (HAH mer) people. The route we took was really a bush path. But, lots of people were out walking.

My guide said the Hamar were the most beautiful people in the tour. It was hard to argue the point. Hamer women wore animal skins ornamented with cowry shells. They also wore aluminum bracelets and necklaces. Most women had a similar hairstyle that was made up of millions of tight ringlets that looked sort of like a traditional Dutch boy's haircut. A few women used soil and butter to give their hair a wet, red, mud effect. There appeared to be no rules for men's fashion. Some dressed in Western clothes (unfortunately) but many had wrap around cloth or animal skin skirts. As far as their heads were concerned, anything seemed to be fair game. Many people had four earrings per ear. Some heads had the front half shaved and the back half in corn rows. There were feathers added to hair designs that needed no further decoration. Some heads looked like some sort of mud was caked on and then painted. I was in portrait paradise with a sensory overload of color and culture.

Later, when we pulled into our campsite, there were at least fifteen Hamer boys who watched our arrival. Hanging out at the camp was a good way to make some birr from tourists. Masey gave me a walking tour of a nearby village. xIt was every bit as beautiful as the Hamer market and a lot more peaceful.

We were well taken care of at the camp. When I went to wash up and shave along a dried up river, one boy insisted he came along to pour water over my head and feet. In addition, dishes were washed, tents were assembled, and camp was guarded by the boys.

Copyright 2001 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.