Visiting Ari and Hamer Markets

Trip Start Oct 11, 2012
Trip End Nov 19, 2012

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Where I stayed
Cascade Campsite
What I did
Cascade River
Ari Market
Dimarka (Hamer) Market

Flag of Ethiopia  ,
Saturday, October 20, 2012

I woke up to some very weird sounds in the am.  I thought it was people walking on the road past the campsite, but it was either the black and white colobus monkeys or baboons.   Maybe it was the baboons because, once I got out of the tent, I saw some by our camp kitchen.  I took some photos of one baboon sitting on a branch and having a bite of breakfast.  We had time for some leisurely pursuits:  reading, sunbathing on a log, chasing butterflies, et al.

After breakfast we drove off.  It took awhile to break camp with all the tents and food supplies.  We stopped for 15 minutes at the Ari market. It was spread out in a field in a bowl of mountains... of sorts. Very scenic.  It took awhile to take photos but I did manage a few.  Quite a few...not sure of the quality since most were shots of sections of the market while hoping to capture an interesting bit somewhere.

I rode in the back of car #1 with Martina and Andrew; Kibrom, in front with the driver Haile.  The road out of the park was rough but then we got on a good road.  We rode to a hotel where our chef prepared lunch.  We then drove through drier landscape with aloe vera, some pink-flowered elephant trees.  They looked as if they might be succulents of some sort--a much larger version of my jade houseplants.  I became obsessed with them and kept trying to get a photo, but no luck.

I didn't make good notes (i.e., any notes) of the background info that Kibrom has given us or the answers to questions.  He did speak about the period during which Ethiopia had a Communist government.  From what he said - the killings, the deprivation, etc. - it was obviously a very hard time for the Ethiopian people.  He proudly related aspects of earlier Ethiopian history - from Queen Sheba and her son Menelik I, the Axumite period, through Menelik II and his son, the Emperor Haile Selassie.  Ethiopia has many old monuments that attest to the skill and artistry of its people.  Christianity has been central to Ethiopian history since the 4th C. AD and Ethiopia has played a significant role in the history of Christianity as well.  There was also mention of the invasion of Ethiopia by the Italians and subsequent liberation.

A question about health care in Ethiopia was raised.  Kibrom spoke of the government's priority of making health care readily available.  Every town or village has someone who can give primary care, including scheduled immunizations, even if it is on a visiting basis.  One can see public health information, e.g., birth control and prevention of stds, on billboards in the towns and cities.  Kibrom also told us that there was at least one medical school in each of Ethiopia's governmental regions.  We passed an eye specialty hospital in Addis and learned that many of the NGOs had sponsored medical or health care facilities around the country.

The second market we visited today was a Hamer one - the Dimarka Market.  I think not all people expected to be paid for photos and didn't quite know how to respond immediately but then quickly manged to get with the program and ask for payment.  After the market we drove a bit more to a Hamer town on the Cascade River -- Cascade Campsite - the Cascade River is sacred to the Hamer people.

It rained again -this evening:  Our tent was a mess with sand already in it when we put it up but we got most of it out and us into it before the rain.  We stayed while it rained and then came out at 6:30 for a special Ethiopian dinner.  People are starting to drink ouzo here at the dinner table.  I think I am ready for bed.  Jill has already left.

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