Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Girl With 2 Different Color Earrings

2 Macchiattos Please

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012
Blog 3 From Hinda

Hi to all of you!
As you will see below Peter has published a number of his photographs and his comments about our latest adventures in southern Ethiopia visiting the tribes in the Omo Valley.
And as you will see when you look at the photos, it was like being in a National Geographic special for a whole week. We visited tribes that lived in the most remote regions among their animals, mud, huts and families all with many children.
We got there by driving through beautiful country with fields of Teff,(fermented teff – one of the oldest grains is used to make injera, a daily staple of Ethiopians), corn, onions, bananas, etc., with fences of cactus plants. Farmers were busy plowing with oxen and old fashioned plows, while very young children, mostly boys, some as young as 5 or 6, were herding cows, goats, camels and anything else with 4 legs. While the boys are herding the girls are beginning to carry water at the age of 3 or 4 starting with a small jerry can. They progress to carrying more and more as they get older and in some cases they are carrying as much as a donkey, they are truly beasts of burden in rural areas. (see photos)
We were lucky to get to witness a “bull jumping ceremony” at the Hammar Tribe. These are usually held after the rainy season in late September and October. As Peter explains and you can see in his photos, a man must run across the backs of 8-10 bulls lined up and held in place by his friends and family. It was exciting to watch and cheer when he completed the run. Before the run, there is a ceremony where woman are whipped to show their respect and love for the man running. Peter and I have been having an argument about whether he should include the photos in the blog, and as you know we are opposites in some ways, and this is one of them. He thinks it is fine to include them and I do not, so he has included them with his explanation and I will voice my objection.
One of the other good experiences was at the village of the Mursi Tribe. These are people who live in a very remote area and continue to live as they have for the last hundreds of years. Many of the women have plates in their lower lip (see photo). However, we were told that women today have a choice of whether to have a plate inserted or not and the chief’s wife has chosen not to have one, so I think others will soon follow. The other interesting thing was that the chief was wearing an REI fleece vest which he seemed to really value, good advertising for REI.
Although we enjoyed this trip, I must admit that seeing the poverty in the rural areas and the multitude of children, with nothing to wear but an oversized t-shirt with holes in it, not enough to eat, forced to work and not go to school, 5 year olds who carry 2 year olds on their backs, and all begging every time we stopped the car, did make me sad and want to do something to help. I hope the work we do on these trips helps just a little to change things.
I will end on this note and say I miss you all and hope you are all well. Enjoy Peter’s photos.
Love, Hinda

18 Year Old Hammar Bull Running

Hammar Girl Relative of Bull Runner Getting Whipped

Fresh Scars From Whip on Hammar Girl

Mursi Woman With Basket

Hammar women Staying Dry in House in Rain

Hammar woman in Market

Mursi Chief's Wife, Baby, and Puppy

Mursi Woman with Lip Plate and Baby

Mursi Men

Mursi Girl

Mursi Boy

Dassenech Woman

Arbore Friends

Hammar Girls at Dance

Camels and Drivers

Hammar Boy

Hammar House

Konso King

Konso Woman

Heavy Heavy Heavy


Tall Termite Mound


Boy Helping Father Weave

Fishing Boats Lake Awassa

Ari Girl

Ari Potter

Log Boat on Omo River

Pretty Girl in Market

Hinda and Friend

Blog 3 Ethiopia

B log 3
May 28, 2012

Hi Everyone,

There is a lot to say and show so hope you will be patient and enjoy.

I have always had an interest in my ancestry, so before we left, I sent DNA samples to the National Geographic Genographic Project and recently received my results. Like all of you, my roots start right here in the Rift Valley in Ethiopia and then from there to North Africa, the Middlle East, and Southern Europe. And for my mother, like yours also, from here and then eventually to Russia. And in both cases, Ashkenazi Jewish. Just what I thought and hoped for. More detail another time.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has it’s roots in very early Christianity, and one of their symbols is the Magen David – Star of David. When we went to visit a very famous church here and told them we were Jewish, we were warmly welcomed as family.

Guess what we found here – bagels. Well, kind of like bagels, but they were ok and we enjoyed them.

Many of the taxis here are OLD Russian Lada’s – still running (barely anyway).

Where we live, the caretaker cuts the lawn with hand grass clippers. WOW!

So to greet a woman, three kisses on the check, and then perhaps a shallow bow, and man to man a hearty handshake and a shoulder bump and perhaps hug. Pretty nice.

When I needed toilet paper in a restaurant bathroom, I asked the waiter who told me to go to the cashier who called the waiter who brought me 1 napkin!

On our trip to the South, we didn’t bring our Passports since we were not leaving the country, but it turned out we needed them because we were close to the border of Kenya. Well a copy of our passports and 50 Birr did the trick.

Before I tell you about our trip to the Omo Valley in the south to visit and photograph a number of interesting tribes, a word or two about work.

house parties and a major event at a restaurant where everything has been donated. Now we need the guests which I think we can manage. Also working on a concert and will know more about it in a few days. Finally getting the CDC to visit this coming Thursday which hope will lead to some more resources for our NGO. Also working on getting support from UNICEF for special food for kids who are HIV+. Did a nice brochure which is now being distributed. Hinda working on Job Descriptions and Clinic Protocols as well as the fundraising stuff. We are providing lots of ideas and input and are working very nicely with the very good staff who are helpful, kind, knowledgeable and more. This coming weekend we are going to host potluck which for them will be the first. We’ll see what we get.

Speaking of food those of you who thought we would be eating Ethiopian food morning noon and night, think again. Lots of good Italian food here. Great coffee and macciattos, and of course great Ethiopian fare – a bit spicy for Hinda but fine for me. Remember our stomachs have different temperaments;.

The money here is so old it actually smells. Yes, that’s right.

We took a 9 day trip to the south to visit a number of tribes who live in the Omo valley and have provided you some photos of them.

A highlight of the trip was being able to witness and photograph bull jumping. A young man in order to marry must prove his manhood by running over the backs of 8 – 10 bulls 4 times without falling. His parents will choose a woman for him to marry. As a part of this ritual of the Hammar tribe. A male relative of the young man whips his female relatives to prove their love for him. Interesting – yes. Graphic – yes.

After the bull jumping, later in the evening we went to a celebratory dance in the Hammar village, but not long after we got there it began to pour, really pour. We ran into a hut which was leaking so badly that they people who were in there with us had to hold cowhides over our head. One of the Hammar girls moved next to me and kept me warm, but she only moved because she was getting too wet and wanted to help cover me. Oh well.

We also got caught in a big rain in an Ari village we visited, but the house we ducked into was completely waterproof and we stayed dry.

Some of the tribes live in very remote places and their live is difficult to say the least. A lot of death from malaria, waterborne diseases, maternal and infant during childbirth and more. No family planning Lots of babies in arms with pregnant mothers. Very young children carrying toddlers.

The women do all of the carrying – water, wood, supplies, to and from the market. Very heavy – 40 to 50 kilos, (100 pounds+). Many men drink and chew khat.
Both work in the fields. No machinery, all agriculture for the most part is manual. Drought when it comes is a killer as you know from recent history here.

In some tribes, the young men don’t go to school until they are in their late teens so they can spend their youth helping in the village taking care of cows, planting and harvesting, etc. Some will not return to the village but stay away, while the girls don’t go to school and remain in the village living a very rural lifestyle along with whatever good or bad comes with it.

We believe that it is important to preserve the culture but at the same time we think that it is important and possible to protect against malaria, dysentery and other diseases. But this is not an easy task in a country like this among people who have animist belief systems.

With some of the tribes there is both male and female circumcision, others, not. While HIV is a problem here in Ethiopia, especially here in Addis, it is not much of a problem in the tribal villages – yet. Hope that continues, and it is so in part because of those same belief systems. Who you can have sex with, when, who you can marry, etc.
I had to pay for nearly all of the photos I took about 2 Birr/photo. 1 Birr is about 5.5.US cents. That is ok. I am taking something from them, and they are earning some money. It all works out. One of the funny things is that pregnant women want 1 Birr for their unborn child I didn’t agree to that though.

Ethiopia is a beautiful country. Lush, very green this time of the year. Fertile land and fields. High hills and mountains. And for the most part, good roads, although we did have our share of driving on some pretty rough dirt and muddy roads and through some flash flooding,

That is about all for now. Perhaps this has gone on too long.

More next time after our trip to the historic north at the end of June: Queen of Sheba, Ark of the Covenant and more. Stay tuned.


Saturday, May 12, 2012


We apologize, some titles are either missing or not next to the photo. We think you will figure it out. Thanks! P&H


Ethiopia is Beautiful

Alert Leper Hospital

Veg and Fruit Seller

Yokabel - CoWorker

Girl Herding Cows

Roadside Seller

Healthy HIV Positive Kids at Mekelle Clinc

Across the Street in Mekelle

Getting Water

Selling Live Chickens

Child Nutrition at Clinuc

Waiting Room at Kombolcha Clinic

Client at ASC Clinic

Getting Tested for HIV at Kombolcha Clinic

Girl at Wedding

Tomato Seller

Going to Market