Another day on the road heading west towards Jinka. It rained all night so the roads were bumpy, muddy and a bit treacherous! Our plans for the day included visiting the largest market in the Omo Valley. All the local tribes attend this market — the Banna people wearing goat skin skirts, the Karo people draped in colorful beads, the Hamer women with their beautiful red hair, the Murci people with their amazing lip plates and the Tsemai warriors with feathers in their hair – it was hard to know where to look first! All of them come to the Key Afar Market to trade and get supplies.
Shopping there is challenging and those who don’t enjoy haggling and bargaining for the best price won’t have a good time. But we all found something wonderful to remember our visit and left happily with lots of small children jostling to hold our hands! Getting back in the cars we headed off to our new hotel in Jinka.
Before dinner we walked around the town visiting their local vegetable market and then stumbled on a primary school where we talked to the principal and met some of the students. On our walk back to our hotel two of the students walked with us and shared stories of their families and hopes for their futures. Eventually they asked us to buy them school books which we had been warned is a way that kids get money from tourists. Whether it is true or not, we gave them money and decided that the experience of spending the afternoon with two local boys walking around town as though we were locals was well worth it.