Formerly nomadic Pastoralists. The surma now largely depend on the subsistence cultivation of sorghum and Maze. The surma have a fearsome reputation as warriors, in part inspired by their continual search for grazing lands. Fights agins the Bumi, their sworn enemies, still occur.
It is belived that the surma once dominated the area, but their territory has been reduced to the western edges of Omo national park.The population of 45,000 is split into three subgroups: the chai, Tirma and Bale.
The surma are also known for their white , almost ghostlike body painting. white chalk is mixed with water to create a kind of wash. The painting is much less ornamental than that found in other tribes
and is intended to intimidate enemies in the battle.
Market Day in the Omo Valley.