Ethiopia is raw, authentic and unforgettable. Each region is like stepping into a time capsule. Each village and town feel like a different world. Salt mines in the north are still excavated with primitive tools and transported by camel. The Southern tribes take pride in ritualistic scarification, lip plates and body war painting. Ethiopia is one of the first countries to adopt Christianity, in the first century AD. The numerous monasteries of Lalibela protect many of the ancient Christian texts.
Not the easiest place to travel. Rough conditions test you physically and mentally almost every single day. But if you stop resisting the discomfort, let your body acclimate and take it a day at a time, Ethiopia will open up, welcome you and show you some of it’s most precious treasures. This unique and incredible country and it’s people will also teach you to accept things how they are and embrace the present moment. After all, the present moment is the only thing we truly have right now. Live it to the fullest.
Lalibela, the center of Ethiopian Christianity, is famous for its monolithic churches built underground and undetected by enemies for hundreds of years Most survive to this day in their original state. All the churches are active and priests still use century old books for prayer with the only source of light shining though small windows cut in the massive walls.
Every Sunday all the villagers around Lalibela gathers near the ancient churches for the weekly mass. A truly fascinating sight as hundreds of people adorned in yellow and while cloaks are chanting or standing still in a moment of prayer, completely ignoring the outside world and just being present
Tribes of the Omo Valley
Dassanech people live near the border of kenya by the shores of lake Turkana. One of the most interesting tribes to photograph it is not so easy to get to. After a 3 hr drive through dusty roads we had to cross the river full of crocodiles on dugout tribal canoes. What sounds like a dangerous place to live, actually helps the tribe survive. In times when cattle is lost to disease, local men hunt crocodiles, even a small one is enough to feed a family for days.
Mursi is one of the 20 tribes living in Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia. Cattle is the main way of life for the people of this region. Not only essential for survival, the number of cattle determines the wealth and status of a village. Almost every adult tribe member whether male or female carries a gun. Cattle stealing, clashes over grazing land and water access disputes are quite common in the area. Ethiopian government does little to interfere and lets the tribes be and sort our their problems on their own.
Hamar men pay a very special attention to face painting and hair. They use ostrich feathers as part of their hair dress which symbolizes hunting and the domain of nature. To protect the hairdo, men always carry a wooden headrests they use for pillows.