PHOTODOX 31

How Hamars gave us back the Christmas

Ice flakes frame the window. Christmas tree and colorful gifts are set. In the fireplace fire is crackling. Sweaters. Luminous lights flicker. Or? Midnight mass at Jesuit church. Nativity scene. So unreal and far away from this place.

Our midnight mass occurred in the village of Labela, the place where Hamar people live. It’s not any religious order. This is one particular tribe in Africa. Men with unusual hairstyles. Rifles. Women dressed in a piece of goat skin. Half-naked children. And we were taken aback.

But this time we were lucky. Although Haille Salassie stole our New Year, Hamars gave us back the Christmas.

Ethiopians as members of the Orthodox churches celebrate Christmason  January 7, although Hamari are animists, and respect the God who lives in the trees, one special evening made us a midnight mass different then any other.

Baked goat . The whole village gathered around the fire and sang. Wine from honey liberated voices and sent away fear of strangers. We layed down on our Land Cruiser, lit cigarettes and looked upon the starry sky, waiting for the comet down to Bethlehem.

The night had no end . Neither the sky . Everything was worth for those few moments or a few hours, nothing else mattered.