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This priest posed for me at Narga Selassie which is an Orthodox Tewahedo church on the western shores of Dek Island, the largest island of Lake Tana in northern Ethiopia. "The name signifies "Trinity of the Rest". "Rest" refers to the place and the shade thereabouts.
On a hike in the high, craggy Semien Mountain range, Ethiopia, I came across a troupe of Gelada apes. They are more commonly known as Bleeding Heart Monkeys, due to the heart shaped breast on the large males. Although they look like baboons, they are a species of old world monkeys. I strolled slowly through the grass alongside these large apes as they grazed on the grass and flowers. Although aware of my presence, they largely ignored me, somewhat like sheep and cows in the same paddock. This large male was threatening another younger male who approached too close to one of his females. A truly scary display! It was an experience I will never forget.
A group of Hamer women walking to the location of a bull jumping ceremony near the town of Turmi, in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia. Their shirts are held up at the back showing the scars they received at previous ceremonies where there were whipped, in support of the initiate. Their hair is twisted in a mixture of butter and mud to form strands. In their hands they carry trumpets made from cow horns, used when they are dancing at the ceremony.
"The Church of St. George (Amharic: Bete Giyorgis) is one of eleven rock-hewn monolithic churches in Lalibela, a city in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia."
"The church was carved from a type of volcanic tuff. This is the sole architectural material that was used in the structure. It has been dated to the late 12th or early 13th century AD."
I was in Ethiopia with Oxfam and ACCRA (African Climate Change Resilience Alliance) who were running a revolutionary type of workshop to assist the local government of Gemechis on how to better plan for future effects of climate change.
Rarely, if ever, do you see Hamer people of any gender engaging in any displays of affection, beyond hand shaking. So it was extraordinary to see two women approach each other and kiss, a long involved kiss. Most likely explanatin to my mind is that they were family members who hadn't seen each other for some time and were brought together by the bull-jumping ceremony. A greeting rather than anything else.
A shy young Karo boy hides behind the rough fence of an animal enclosure in his village on the banks of the Lower Omo River in southern Ethiopia. The Karo predominantly practice flood retreat cultivation, growing a variety of crops. They also fish and breed cattle and goats. Their way of live is threatened by the construction of a hydroelectric dam which will regulate the flow of the river.
Taken along the side of the road in southern Ethiopia. I thank these people for their generosity of spirit in allowing me to take their photos and talk with them. There are few Mursi tribes now that are not exposed to external cultures and tourists.
The 'race to document' photography trend has posed significant problems for tribal elders. Despite this, some tribes are managing to integrate tourism into their daily lives in ways that benefit their villages rather than destroy their culture.
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