This morning we went to the Harar cattle and goat market. Oh the smell, sights, sounds.
So anyway we arrive at the entrance which is just off the center of town. People, cattle and goats are everywhere coming and going. We all come in the same gate. I, not yet knowing the rules, walk in the middle of the gate only to see a man with a big stick frantically waving. I turn to see several large bulls right behind me. I can’t get completely out of way but the guy jumps in and the bulls and I all make it in alive. In case you need to know this the protocol is people get as close the side of the gate as possible and just squeeze in, while large bulls go in the middle. The goats go just anywhere the herders don’t want them to go as far as I could tell. There no obvious cattle transport trucks here. We are told that the herdsmen walk the cattle to market from miles around. In these mountains it is no small effort I am sure.
We stand around in the heat, stink and flies for a bit. Climbing up on a conveniently big rock (right in the middle of the market) helps a bit. After a while some patterns begin to emerge. I can see the buyers, as they are well dressed and carry notebooks and are writing things down. I followed a guy for a bit to watch him. He is very friendly and had pretty good English. We talk a bit but you hate to bother a guy at work right? But he said ask me any question so I did. I think I could buy cattle now. What do you look for? A healthy animal that is fat of course. No obvious disease or injuries. For fun I asked him about prices today. Ohhh they are too high I won’t buy much today.
After my gate mistake I make sure to stay clear of the bulls, some of whom are very agitated. This in not a tourist attraction here.
In a scary incident a bull got loose and charged some of our group. An American and German tourist were injured but not too seriously . They were injured when two bulls charged and some women were in between them. He tried to help them and was knocked down by the bull and got some scrapes and bruises, and his camera was smashed. A visit to the local medical clinic for both of them, and stories to tell!
Some of the ladies stepped into an office along the side of the market to ask the purpose and found that this was the tax people. Yikes! After the transaction you came up to settle your tax bill. No credit here, pay cash right now.
Overall I thought it a wonderful experience not to be missed.
And here is me