Photographing in Ethiopia exposes an amazing variety in cultures and environments.
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Young woman with head decoration showing her beautifying body scars. Mursi tribe in Militia Village, Omo Valley.
From the Capital of Addis Ababa to the Coptic Christian 12th century churches in Lalibela in the Northern highlands and to the Omo Valley original tribal lands in the South the variety is astounding.
Ethiopia is considered the origin of Homo Sapiens. The National Museum in Addis Ababa exhibits the 3.2 million years old fossil of "Lucy". She was named after the Beatles "Lucy in the sky with Diamonds" played repeatedly, during the scientists celebration of the discovery the following night.
Lucy. 3.2 million year old australopithecine. The missing link. Fossil hominid. National Museum. Addis Ababa.
In the Omo Valley multiple tribes compete for areas where their subsistence farming and pastoral lifestyles enable their survival. This competition has not always been piecefull and even today the tribes are well armed -- just in case.
Young Mursi girls are well armed to protect their tribal area.
Tribes like the Mursi, Hamer, Kara, Daasanech, Konso and Arbore people all compete for the lands in the Omo Valley. Each of these tribes have distinct and very different ancient languages that so far has been preserved.
Woman with Lip Plate from the Mursi tribe. Militia Village at Mago National Park. Ethiopia.
Young woman from the Mursi Tribe. Ethiopia.
Mursi tribe woman with Lip Plate removed. Lip Plates are only worn for celebrations and ceremonies and other special occasions.
Hamer Women with their distinctive hairstyle at the Open Air Market.
Hamer man getting face painting before the Bull Jumping Ceremony.
The Bull Jumping Ceremony is a Hamer tribal tradition that makes a young man ready for marriage. The three days festivities that include a Whipping Ceremony, where women deliberately challenge men to whip them, culminates in the Bull Jumping ceremony. During the Bull Jumping the young man jumps and runs over a lineup of bulls at least four times. He is stark naked during the jumping.
Bull Jumping ceremony. A Hamer tribal tradition to validate the man is ready for marriage.
Another ancient tradition "Mingi" means that a person is impure or ritually polluted. This is a Death sentence. A child declared Mingi will be killed either by abandonment in the wild or drowned. A child can be declared Mingi by tribal elders for example if born out of wedlock or if the upperjaw teeth erupts before the lower jaw or chipping a tooth in childhood.
An organization, Omochild.org , rescues these children before the ritual killing and bring them into an orphanage. They take care of them during their continued upbringing and education. They desperately need help. Go to omochild.org to see how you can help.
Omo Child orphanage. These kids would be dead if not rescued by the Omo Child organization.
Click on the "Get Involved" tab.
Konso tribal compound.
The city of Lalibela in the Northern part of Ethiopia is very different from the Omo Valley. Lalibela is famous for it's 11 churches dating from the 12th century. They are Coptic Christian churches carved out of monolithic bedrock and mostly under ground level. The churches are declared UNESCO World Heritage.
The most famous is the St George church with a distinctive cross carved on the top of the building, which is at ground level.
Bishop in front of the St George Church in Lalibela.
Bishop inside church.
The Coptic Christian tradition celebrates Meskel annually. This ceremony includes dancing and chanting by the assembled clergy and culminates in a bonfire.
Meskel is a colorful and joyful celebration.
The clergy is lining up and takes active turns in the celebration.
This Ethiopian Photo Expedition arranged by National Geographic was a stark reminder of the amazing multitude of cultures alive and well in this landlocked East African Country.
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Keywords: Addis Ababa, Addis Abeba, Africa, Arba Minch, Arbore Village, Arbore tribe, Bet Danaghel, Bet Giyorgis, Bet Gota, Bet Maryam, Bet Medhane, Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Medhane Alem, Bull Jumping, Chamo, Church of Saint George, Coptic, Daasanach, Daasanach village, Dasanech, Dasanech Village, Dileka, Dusi, Dusi Village, East Africa, Ethiopia, Ethiopian, Galeb, Gezahegne, Hamer, Hamer people, Hamer tribe, Heritage site, Jinka, Jordan, Kara, Kara tribe, Kara village, Keske, Kolcho, Kolcho Village, Konso, Konso Region, Lake Chamo, Lalibela, Lucy, Mago, Mago National Park, Medhane, Meskel, Meskel celebration, Militia Village, Mursi, Omo, Omo Child, Omo Valley, Omorate, Reshiat, Saint George, St. George, Turmi, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Unesco, Unesco, World Heritage, World Heritage Site, body paint, face paint, face painting, jumping, mingi, religion
Thanks for the look Tom. Nice work. Send me a disk of lo res images if you want me to consider them for catalog use.
Thanks for sharing your amazing images of a world that's hard to imagine. Hope to see you soon. Do you belong to NANPA? I am planning to be in San Diego in Feb. for the NANPA convention and thought you may be there? Take care, Mark
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For many years I have enjoyed the freedom to travel the World with emphasis on photography. I have found that the Worlds wonders become more obvious through a lens. It emphasizes the beauty in the variety and details in culture, peoples, wildlife and landscapes.
Through my blog, stock photos and web site I make an attempt to share this beauty. My hope is that other people will find inspiration and motivation to protect and further share these Wonders of the World.