Konso, entry to the Omo Valley

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
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Trip End Mar 02, 2010


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Where I stayed
Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge

Flag of Ethiopia  ,
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hello all,

I'm on my way to the Lower Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia.  It is a HOT, wild and sparsely inhabited area.  There are a number of traditional tribes, in this area....right out of a National Geographic article.  This is a more traditional African area then other locations in Ethiopia.  The predominant religion is animism, although the towns have some Christians and Muslims.  When I get home I'll add more details and photos. 

The main tribes of this area are the Mursi, Hamer, Bena, Karo and Ari.  Sometimes they get along, but not always.  The Mursi in particular have the reputation for being on the aggresive side.  Territorial battles still occur, yes people die.   Each tribe has a particular dress, and the tribes have what we would consider bizzare and unusual customs.  I''ll add more details when I get home, I try to keep these entries shorter, I'm always afraid the internet will disappear!

I've hired a car and driver, along with a guide, Emanuel, for this part of the trip.  There is virtually no public transportation.  No water supply, no electricity, no phone service (neither hard line or cell), not much of anything we have come to expect in the modern world. This will change over the next couple of years.  There are mojor road improvements being done as well as the construction of cell towers. 

We stop in Konso on the way and upon our return, so I'll combine this into one entry.  The people who live in the Konso are mostly subsistence farmers who also own livestock.  In this part of the world, cattle equals status.  It's not about money, but about how many cattle you own, and to a lesser extent, sheep and goats.  The women all wear colorful skirts. 

There are about 12 villages in the Konso area, most are encircled with a rock wall.  They are crowded, but remarkebly clean.  I don't see any trash, everything is utilized.  There are virtually no flies, the toilets are located outside of the main living area so general sanitation is OK. 

On the way back to Arba Minch, we stop again and spend the night In Konso, sleeping at the Strawberry Field Eco Lodge.  This is an unusual place.  In additon to providing lodging, it also does 2 week classes on organic permaculture.  Each lodge is a small tokul.  The pit toilets are spotless, you add a can of ash and straw after taking care of needs, no odor!!  Solar showers are just warm enough.  They also serve food, so it's nice to have a good salad and fresh vegetables.  The owner is either Irish or Swedish, was not able to find out for sure. 

Next, the lower Omo Valley.....
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