A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

A Philosophy of Radical Aliveness

"Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; but today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope."

John Kerestes


Friday, March 28, 2014

March 2014: ETHIOPIA

We visited fourteen different tribes, but the Hamer people were my favorite. Here is a group of Hamer women in the market selling ochre which they mixed with butter to beautify their hair. The most interesting story we heard was about the bull jumping ritual for Hamer boys aspiring to prove their manhood:

When a boy wants to marry he has to prove he is a man by jumping onto the backs of 6-30 bulls - back and forth four times. The women relatives are whipped by the men who have already jumped bulls in the past. They consider it their gift to the relative doing the jumping. They put some kind of suave on, but in the market we saw women with big scars striping their backs. This is followed by the women dancing, and everyone paints their bodies to symbolize being a part of the young man's family. Then the first bull is selected and given a name, and all the bulls are lined up and held in place by all the relatives. If the boy can clear the first bull he walks on the backs of the others. If he cannot clear the first bull he has to wait a year before trying again. Once he has succeeded they sing and dance back to the village, and several cows and goats are killed and feasted on the the next three days of eating and dancing. A bride is selected, negotiated between the two families and a bride price is agreed upon in the currency of goats and cows. The groom then has to prepare by collecting the right number of livestock - which can take as little as two months and as much as a year. But having jumped the bulls he has proven he is a man and ready to marry.