How I became a Gabbra elder

It was my last field visit. Together with my successor and visitors from our headquarter we went to Turbi. This time, the villagers had something special in mind and we came right to the celebration of the milk (I did not remember the Gabbra word; but it is something similar to Thanksgiving – in a more traditional African way!)

It was raining in Turbi a couple of days before we arrived and some of the earth pans already have some substantial amount of water. People seem relieved – after some years without any drop of rain. After a visit here and there we went to a gathering of the villagers where they celebrated their “milk-day”; that’s what we thought.

In the end it was a “thanksgiving”-celebration for us Caritas visitors. In the past years many activities were funded by one or the other Caritas organization and to express their thanks they made us Gabbra elders. Not only we got a traditional necklace but they dressed us as herders including turban etc. It was amazing and fun; and ever since we are Gabbra elders and camel owners.

Being a Gabbra now I had to try camel milk – I was waiting for this quite some time already. It tastes very smoky as the container for the milk is smoked out for conservation purposes.

This was just the perfect way to saying goodbye to this part of the world. There are still so many mysteries and things I have to learn from the pastoralists – hoping to return some day!

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