Harar’s hyena-woman

Here’s a rare bit of video of Harar’s first and only ever hyena-woman. While Yusuf was at the farm, looking after the livestock, some tourists arrived late and wanted to see the hyenas being fed. So Yusuf’s wife Naime gave me a wry smile and went outside, took down the feed bucket and went and fed the hyenas.
The first time she ever did this was when Yusuf had to go to Dire Dawa for a funeral and stayed overnight. Naime, pretending to be Yusuf, put on his jacket and cap and went out to feed the hyenas. Hyenas are not that stupid – they can recognise a person’s footsteps alone – but if they’re hungry enough, they’ll take food from anyone. Notice how casual Naime is when she’s feeding; this is her way in everything she does – nothing phases her.
When I told Naime I was getting married, she informed her afocha (neighbourhood women’s group) that her son was getting married. So they all pitched in and made the food for the wedding and then provided the singing and dancing. I love Naime like my own mother.


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