Friday, July 31, 2015

Big river - Jonny Casy (1958)

Those were the days when we were young and free! When our home was among the shelter of big thick trees in Mago National Park, where our tub to bath was the dark waters of the Omo River, where our friends were the Mursi and Bumè. Five wonderful years spent on the banks of Kibish and Omo Rivers! (1985-1989)
Susan in Kibish, Marco at Omomursi - 1985-1989

 Maybe these pictures look old and wrinkled, but that's how we are now! Happy and much older!

It was a terrible sunny day, Susan checking the shores and Masai sitting next sheltered by great Ethiopian white cotton

It all started because Marco had to look for EAST AFRICAN TRIBES that were not jet visited since VITTORIO BOTTEGO, the Italian explorer. He had talked about the "women with the tail" and the "women with the lip plates".
It was fascinating for us coming from West Africa to explore these unspoiled regions of Southern Ethiopia so far away from any kind of communication and interest by any of the authorities of that time.

We were lucky enough to find a wonderful and very helpful governmental organization in Addis Ababa (NTO) who found and managed to get permits for us to drive all the way down South.
I feel free to say: all the way down South, because at that time nobody knew exactly how far South one could go and if there could have really been a possibility to reach…. What??? Something??? Would there have been anything???
The government at that time was Mengistu ruler and we always thought he could not care less of what we were doing. And he was right, because we weren’t doing anything, we only wanted to explore and take with us some of our good customers who loved “first trip experience ”.

We had drivers that had never driven South of Langano or South of Awassa, maybe someone reached Arba Minch, but then those were not drivers but rangers. Political ranger whom were given a Kalashnikov to protect. We always wondered if they actually knew how to work it…
But they were cute and nice and were afraid of where we were taking them.
Road were really bad - Roberto Michelini hanging out and Carlo Umberto Minni climbing on the other side
The first time we drove in the T'zamai area, we did not know we were there. We kept following Vittorio Bottego’s notes and we thought of being in the correct place.  We started looking and as we were, we noticed exactly the same thing written on his notes.

This has excited us wild! 

We got off the car and left the drivers and the ranger in it. They would not come down at all!
They were not even happy to have gone farther South than Arba Minch. There, we were far below.
We started following "something" and I could feel there were people looking at us. Living in Nigeria for almost 10 years I had developed that sixth sense that always helped me around. Reading movements, reading feelings, reading sight, reading muscles.

There on the sand we found traces of their tail. But how…. how could it be possible to find women with a tail? Our mind was in great confusion. A snap and a tick. Something moved. We saw something that waved through the bushes. It was difficult to say what it was because it had the color of a kudu antelope but not the size of it. That brownish object found a way among branches of thorns and waved away leaving behind a trace in the sand that looked like a design of a kid with a stick.
In the years to come we got to know this tribe well. THE T'ZAMAI. The ladies had to wear their leatherskin skirt to the floor that ended with a stitched wooden stick at the end. Men used that to always know where to find their ladies.

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