Friday, September 16, 2005

Face-to-face with the unknown and unknowable

Barentu streets 3

The tribal people of Gash Barka were quite amazing.
Unfortunately, they seemed very unwilling to have
their photos taken and it proved impossible to find a
quiet dark spot in which to sit and quietly click
without being noticed. And these were people you
really would not want to cross, so this description
will have to do.

The men had either very long fuzzy hair, in an
Afro-style (of all things) or tight curly hanging
locks. They would wear white clothes, colourfully
embroidered in reds, yellows, blues and greens. They
wore nappy-type shorts, loose fitting cloth around
their loins and they would wear whitish tape around
their bare legs, for effect. They carried sticks, in
the shape of an elongated boomerang, which looked very
strong indeed.

The women would often have a large gap between their
front teeth, which could only have been artificially
induced. Their hair would be braided and combed
tightly back at the front out to a wide bushy 'tail'.
Or they would have the tight flowing locks, similar to
the men, only the hair would be decorated with
brightly coloured beads (from India). So, it was an
interesting experience, walking around their town and
their round wooden huts.

At one stage I was face-to-face with one of the
warriors, he looking at me and me looking at him,
eye-to-eye. But it was impossible to communicate with
each other in any way and in an instant the moment passed.

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