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Archive 2014 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born

  
 
thebiker
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


The discovery of the 3.5 million years old remains of Lucy in the Awash valley, makes Ethiopia the region from where the earliest upright walking hominids are thought to have originated from.

And the more recent discovery of the remains of the Kibbish Man who lived about 150,000 years ago in Ethiopia's mid-west, who had DNA similar to anatomically modern humans like us, suggests that all of modern humans, probably came from Ethiopia. So Ethiopia can be regarded as the Tree Where Man was Born.

I've been travelling extensively in Ethiopia, and would like to share with you, some photos of our distant cousins. Although you and I live in comfortable modern surroundings, where light appears at the flick of a switch, and clean water magically appears from a tap, our distant cousins are still living much as many of our ancestors did thousands of years ago.

I'm pleased to introduce your cousins to you. ....

This is your cousin, from the tribe known as the Mursi. The Mursi are a Nilotic pastoralist ethnic group living in southwestern Ethiopia close to the border with South Sudan. According to the 2007 national census, there are only about 7,500 Mursi in Ethiopia.



There are more than 80 ethnic groups and tribes in Ethiopia, each with its own customs, culture, tribal practices, and even their own languages. There are approximately forty six ethnic groups just in the Omo Valley alone. These include the Benna, Ari, Mursi, Bume, Karo, Tsemay, Konso, Hammer, Dassenech, and Borena, just to mention a few.

In terms of population percentages of the main ethnic groups in Ethiopia, the Oromo constitute 35% of the population, Amhara 27%, Somali 6%, Tigraway 6%, Sidama 4%, Gurage 3%, and the Wolayta 2%.

With a total population of over 82 million people today, Ethiopia has the second largest population in all of Africa.

The next photo below is your cousin from the Benna tribe, dressed in her best finery, shot at a weekend farmers' market in the Omo Valley near Jinka. She's got a good sense of colour and is surprisingly artistic in using colourful hair clips from China to decorate herself.



And below is another of your cousins from the Mursi Tribe. He couldn't be more than 13 years old. And that Kalashnikov he's carrying is real. So you don't want to mess around with him. I asked him politely if I could shoot his photo to share with the rest of our extended family. He said Yes, but for 10 Birs (about 50 cents). So I paid him without any haggling. Usually, when a Mursi young man gets married, he has to pay a bridal dowry of around 30 cows for his bride. If his bride has a brother, a Kalashnikov AK47 is also commonly given, along with the cows, so that his new in-laws will have something to protect their new wealth from cattle thieves. Rich Mursis can have as many wives as they can afford, but they don't usually have more than 3. It's quite common for tribes to raid each other's cows.

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And this is your cousin from the Suri tribe and her baby. Suri women, like the Mursis, wear plates in an opening in their lower lip, just like our cousins at home wear jewellery. When a Suri girl reach the age of 14 or 15, her mother or other female relatives will cut a hole in her lower lip. A wooden plug is then inserted in the cut to keep it open while it heals. Over a period of several months, bigger and bigger plugs are inserted, until a clay or wooden plate of 3 inches in diameter can be inserted in the opening. As she grows older, larger and larger plates are inserted. Th size of the plate that this woman is wearing is at least 10 inches in diameter. Often the four lower front teeth have to be broken to accommodate the plate.

The origin of this custom is unclear, but one theory is that these ladies wear plates in their lower lips in order to make themselves less likely to be kidnapped for slavery when Europeans and Americans were happily raiding villages in Africa for slaves. Thankfully the Ethiopian authorities these days are actively discouraging the Suris and the Mursis to wear plates in their mouths.

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And here's a Mursi woman sans her lip plate. You can see that the four front teeth in the lower row has been broken so that the lip place can be accommodated in the mouth. Its good that the authorities are discouraging this practice. Must be really painful when the initial cut is made in the lower lip.

">

I shot this next photo of a beautiful child from a village called Woyeta, deep in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia. Children everywhere are exactly the same .... playful, trusting, simple and beautiful inside and out. I sometimes wonder at which point in its life, does a delightful child gets transformed into an avaricious and evil adult.
When does a child metamorphose into an Elliot Rodger?
And why?
Something must be wrong with our society that we have Elliot Rodgers among us.

">

Here's another sweet innocent three eyed child. She was happy enough to be photographed, but her friend was a little shy ....



Another child from the town of Mirzan deep in the South Western Belly of Ethiopia.



A young woman from the town of Mirzan..



And here's a young lady from the Hamer tribe .....



When they marry and they have kids, they are transformed into a typical married woman. They wear accessories to make themselves attractive to their menfolk, including the lip plate They nurse their babies with mother's milk, the best way to nurse babies, and in this part of the world almost everyone carries a Kalashnikov. However, they are probably a little bit more civilized than their relatives in the US of A.. I've never heard any one of them going round shooting innocent people for no good reason. Perhaps Americans can learn something from these good people, who only look bad ....




Below is another young lady from the Karos tribe with her little brother. The Karos don't wear lip plates, but a small hole is still made in the lower lip, and often a colourful flower is inserted under the lip, or a pretty feather.



Actually, not all your cousins from Ethiopia are wild people. In the cities they look the same as you and I.
I thought this young lady was extraordinarily beautiful when I saw her leaning by a large window, at the fortress-city of Fasil Ghebbi in Gondar. The walled fortress was the residence of the Ethiopian emperor Fasilides and several of his successors. Since Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown by the Communist Dergs in the seventies, Fasil Ghebbi is simply a tourist attraction.. You should go to Ethiopia soon to meet your distant relatives. Ethiopia is still a destination which is seldom visited by people, who somehow believe it is a land of drought, famine, violence and danger.






Edited on Jun 06, 2014 at 11:43 AM · View previous versions



Jun 05, 2014 at 10:51 PM
CW100
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


interesting portraits


Jun 06, 2014 at 04:06 AM
schlotz
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


Well done!


Jun 06, 2014 at 06:54 AM
Steady Hand
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


I enjoyed seeing these photos!

And I enjoyed reading the captions too. Outstanding job on both!

I bet your book will be very interesting to see (for photos) AND an interesting read too.

Thanks for sharing/posting the photos here. A very good contribution to this forum.



Jun 06, 2014 at 07:31 AM
Steady Hand
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


I like this post of photos so much, I am voting for it to be a "Featured Thread" here on FM. I hope others will agree and do the same.


Jun 06, 2014 at 08:40 AM
elliotkramer
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


Really nice. Thanks for taking the time to post this.



Jun 06, 2014 at 09:07 AM
thebiker
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


Thanks Steadman Uhlich, Elliot Kramer, Matt Scholtz and CW100 for the kind words. Glad you guys enjoyed the photos. I will try and post more.

Yusuf



Jun 06, 2014 at 11:31 AM
643foto
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


Very powerful images. Thanks for sharing.


Jun 06, 2014 at 02:17 PM
dmcdtc
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


GREAT GREAT GREAT pics...and yes Feature of the Week!!!


Jun 06, 2014 at 03:43 PM
bcguy
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


This must have been an incredible experience for you! Your photos were very good, and I enjoyed the commentary too. This is certainly 'featured thread' material.


Jun 06, 2014 at 05:34 PM
roguedog
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


Thank you for posting this set and providing the very interesting commentary. What are the markings on the arms of the women of Hamer tribe and Suri tribe? Do they have a purpose or significance?

Please do post more often. I really enjoyed these immensely. +1 vote for featured thread



Jun 06, 2014 at 07:07 PM
bcguy
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


Roguedog, look at the top left of the thread.


Jun 06, 2014 at 07:10 PM
nextelbuddy
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


Voted as well. It snot every day we got beautiful images presented as a nice documentary. Love the breath of fresh air.


Jun 06, 2014 at 07:42 PM
TrojanHorse
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


thebiker wrote:
However, they are probably a little bit more civilized than their relatives in the US of A.. I've never heard any one of them going round shooting innocent people for no good reason. Perhaps Americans can learn something from these good people, who only look bad ....


Interestingly, I used to live in Ethiopia, although now it is Eritrea. I was very young at the time, so my memory is a bit hazy. Your lovely photographs are a nice reminder of the people and country.

You could probably afford to stick to the beauty of your pictures and skip the political commentary though: Africa is victim to some of the worst man on man crime imaginable, including the recent kidnapping of 300 young girls from a Christian school, who have presumably been sold into sexual slavery for a pittance.



Jun 06, 2014 at 07:42 PM
marklankton
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Your Long Lost Cousins from the Tree Where Man Was Born


Great images of people. Really nicely done!
Mark



Jun 06, 2014 at 09:19 PM





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