This report covers the long trip I had with our very important clients, Bernhard and his wife Franziska. It was not their first trip in Ethiopia with our company but was their third. They first traveled with me to south and continued with our other driver-guide to north. The following year was with me to South Omo Valley and Suri, southwest of the country. This time, which was the third time after two years of their second, they had a 41-day trip to cover many areas mentioned in the title. Bernhard and Franziska are real travelers who can cope up with harsh climates, tough trekking and climbings with also camping in hot areas. Their tolerance to different conditions and strength enabled them not to miss any sites and gave them the chance of camping right in the local community to experience their lives.
Two couples of French nationalities, of whom one of the couples had already taken a trip to virtually the same area some years ago, stayed 22 days in north Ethiopia to experience a wonderful time by visiting and attending very important sites, religious services and ceremonies, and also local markets. Testing exotic cuisine and drinks and interacting with the locals were exciting.
To mention just a few, the big markets on the 2nd and 3rd days of Senbete and Bati, that attract different ethnic people like Amharas, Oromos, and Afars were one of the highlights. They are big and colourful where local produce and animals are brought for sale. We of course drove to some points on the way to Ankober on the 1st day and saw different aquatic birds. The road has been terrible and under construction. We had to wait many times until we could pass by the construction workers, because there were trucks loading and unloading gravel and stuff and transporting. They were picking massive cloud of dust which made driving too difficult.
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The trip was fortunately spiced with Suris traditional activities like donga stick fighting and a wedding. There were two donga duels and one wedding which the locals call 'welolo'. Therefore, our client saw three of them. One of the two dongas was bigger than the other. Beside these big events, he also saw a blood drinking and a cow horn bending, which are among the practices of Surma community.
Morning family activities were also really fascinating that showed us the lives of the locals. Grinding, cooking porridge and pumpkin, tanning and decorating cow skins, and making calabash from a tree fruit were some of the activities. He was so happy to see all these in one morning at just one village by the campsite. He had the chance to take part in Suris farmland preparation. he helped the locals in pickaxing the ground and spading the soil. The Suris were interested to see him work and sweat like them. it was a fun time. There was local beer drinking at the farm that showed us two people sharing by sipping together at the same time from one calabash. Sometimes traditions of nomads could be exemplary for most of us who are considering ourselves better but suffering from grid. It is a paradox.