Surma, Ethiopian Tribes, Suri people
Surma is the official Ethiopian umbrella term for three ethnic groups in South Ethiopia: the Suri people, the Mursi people and the Mekan people. Very often the name 'Surma' is used for the Suri people as well, but this is wrong, a Suri would never call himself a 'Surma'. The Suri people are semi-nomadic cattle herders and live on the west side of the Omo River in the southwestern part of Ethiopia. This area is still much undeveloped, only an unpaved road leads to the heart of the Suri settlements: Kibish.
Suri people have a cattle-centered culture, the wealth of a family is measured by the number of animals owned. Usually the animals are not eaten unless a big ceremony takes place. The animals are used for milk and blood.
The Suri tribe is used to conflict, like for example the constant conflict with the neighbouring Nyangatom tribe over land and cattle. The Suri culture demands that the men are trained as warriors as well as cattle herders. Stick-fighting events like the 'Zegine' (or 'Saginay', also commonly known as Donga, like the Mursi call the stick fights) take place to train boys and young men and also to allow them to meet women.
Here you can read in the travel blog more about the Suri people in the southwestern part of Ethiopia.
This area is still quite untouched, and there are plenty of opportunities to see and experience the traditional life of the Suri tribe. The Suri people love to sing and dance, especially in full moon nights. If you are lucky you can see scarification, blood drinking ceremonies and other traditional rituals of the Suri people. All in all a wonderful experience.
Kibish is the main town of the Suri area. Basically Kibish is a big road with a cell tower (although most of the time no signal), a clinic, a school, the tourist office, a police station, some restaurants and little shops. Right next to the big road there are some small Suri villages, for instance Anjo village, only a 5 minute walk from the main road. The next bigger village is Regge, a 15 minutes drive from Kibish away.
Here you can read the complete travel report about the trip to the Suri tribe.