Karo Wedding Ethiopia

Guests of Honour. 

Scanning the long list of emails after returning from overseas David picked out one that hinted of unusual interest; it was from Tim Gocher, a friend in New York. It turned out he was asking if David fancied going to Ethiopia. 

Some 18 months earlier Tim had visited the remote Karo tribal villages on the banks of the Omo river in Ethiopia and stayed as their guest. During his stay in one village, a teenage girl called Moyle contracted what looked to Tim like Pneumonia – a disease that he had seen first-hand to cause death in that region. Virtually unable to breath, Tim put Moyle and her father in the back of his jeep and rushed through uncharted bush, pushed through rushing rivers, slid up mountainsides, and after 5 hours reached the small town of Jinka which at that time had the nearest health post. Tim made sure Moyle received the best available treatment before continuing his journey, heading north on the three-day journey to Addis Ababa.

Tim had received the following email:

Dear Mr Tim, Moyle Karo girl you help wedding coming. You invited by chief. Please come.

Friend of Karo people

Tim immediately thought of us knowing it would be a perfect photographic opportunity; one not to be missed and an invitation that none of us could refuse.

Later Tim’s friend in Jinka was able to fill in the details. Moyle had not only survived, but she was going to get married in the months to come and it turned out her father was the chief. Through a mixture of ancient and modern communication techniques, the chief was so intent on Tim attending the wedding that he had dispatched a foot messenger through the bush for a few days to get word of the invite to Jinka. On arrival, the Karo messenger asked around until someone recognised Tim’s name. 

Somehow his email address was discovered, and hence the wedding invite arrived via an English speaker in the local cyber hut.Naturally Tim accepted and got in touch with us. Then came the almost impossible coordination of dates, as the Karo tribes do not use any calendar, as we would recognise. After many more messengers between Jinka and the Karo people, we landed on the goat-strewn, grass airstrip in Jinka, and sent messengers to try to make sure they knew we were on our way.