PHOTO: Hamer Tribe Woman at a Weekly Market in Turmi, Ethiopia

A Hamer tribe woman in southern Ethiopia picks her teeth with a twig of Neem while selling butter at the local market in Turmi

In Southern Ethiopia, a Hamer tribe woman picks her teeth with a twig of Neem while awaiting customers at the local market in Turmi. The Hamer are one of some 56 indigenous tribes that live in southern Ethiopia, in an area designated the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region. The Hamer (sometimes spelled Hamar) are one of the few tribes that do not plant crops. Instead, they exchange their cows, sheep, and goats for sorghum and maize to make porridge. Other than that, they eat only meat, milk, and blood from their animals.

However, there are some things that just can’t be purchased with livestock. When money is needed, they sell their animals or products from their animals at weekly markets held around the region. This Hamer tribe woman was squatting on the ground with a row of plastic liter bottles containing a pale yellow substance lined up in front of her. My guide explained that the bottles contained butter that she had churned from cow’s milk. The Hamer also supplement their meager incomes by charging five Ethiopian Birr (about 18 cents USD), for every closeup photo that a tourist snaps.

4 thoughts on “PHOTO: Hamer Tribe Woman at a Weekly Market in Turmi, Ethiopia”

  1. Echoing other comments on the Ethiopia experience, Barbara: wonderful photos and interesting experiences. Wish I’d been able to add that kind of travel on to my business trips to Ethiopia, years ago. So, now you are clearly on the move through Africa. Egypt, Ethiopia – where next?

    Waiting in anticipation


    • Hi Kay. I left Ethiopia about two weeks ago and have been traveling around Greece with Collette. Also a fascinating country, though much different than Ethiopia. Next up is Moldova – but then I don’t know where. Will figure it out as I go.

  2. Fascinating Barbara. You snap some eye-popping shots and share intriguing stories too. Interesting to think of trading livestock for goods, and barely needing money. I have been caring for stock quite a bit over the past 2 months in New Zealand. First pigs, chickens and alpaca on a farm in Timaru, then here in Paekakariki, 4 chickens, and during an Air BnB we were not tending to them per se, but did help out a little bit on a goat farm, seeing 100 plus goats and about 8 cows in action. Awesome experiences.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Thanks so much Ryan. But wow, your experiences sound pretty interesting, too. Chickens and an alpaca I could probably manage, but goats, not sure about that. You’re a brave soul.


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