Ethiopia: Southern Nations – Dasanech People

Ethiopia (Post 53): Dasanech People ——- The next tribe, and by far the best experience, was the Dasanech People. I was the only tourist here so I basically had the entire tribal village all to myself! Perhaps the most remote in the Omo Valley, it took a wooden canoe river crossing to get to the dusty plains where the Dasanech live in half-domed hats made of sticks and covered with hides or more often corrugated iron. Dasanech are agripasturalist, they grow mostly sorghum and maze, that become the basis of almost all food. Women are nearly all pregnant and kids roam around drinking sorghum milk. Women get married at 15, right after the female circumcision which is mandatory. When I asked if a woman can say “no” to this, the local tribal guide politely smiled and said “Women? They have no say in anything, she would be kicked out of the tribe”. Technically, female circumcision is illegal in Ethiopia but the government has no control over these tribal lands. The Dasanech society is highly class-structures with riches and privileges bestowed onto those who own more cattle. More cows – more status – more wives. Dasanech don’t ask you to pay for every picture, instead a single charge is collected by the village chief and people are actually super friendly, even wanting to be in pictures and seeing them on your camera. Everybody smiles and looks happy.