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Hamar Market

People Watching at a Tribal Market
The small town of Turmi is the heart of the Omo Valley region where the Hamar tribe live. We timed our visit to arrive into Turmi on Monday, which is the big market day. The people of all the Hamar villages in the area walk for hours to trade animals, goods that they have made, food they have grown, firewood and even souvenirs for tourists. Down two side alleys are the mills where Hamar women take purchased grains to be ground into flour. The place buzzed with activity.

Usually when I go to a market in a foreign country, I’m mainly curious about what’s for sale. Undoubtedly, the market is a great place to get a sense of the things that the Hamar need to carry out their daily lives. But for me, the more interesting aspect of being in the market was just watching the people. The weekly market is their opportunity to meet with members and sometimes even family from neighboring villages. It was fascinating seeing the Hamar community come together to barter and to enjoy each other’s company. If you decide to make a purchase, make sure you bargain hard! It helps to have a guide with you to help translate, as English is language spoken here.
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