Visiting the wild tribes in south Ethiopia.
It was an early rainy morning and the washout road was covered with alumina – a four day and night trip is quite by itself an adventure. Our car arrived to Mursi tribe village. The nearest settlement by the name Jika is situated near the Mago National Park at the southwest end of Ethiopia. All Mursi tribe came to meet our car.
The Mursis are an aggressive type tribe living far away from civilization contacts, but modern tourism left it’s effect on the way of tribes life. The tribe knows how to pose before camera and the demands to be paid for every cadre click. In fact, all the tribes people want be photographed and get their own birr (Ethiopian currency). The government also allows visiting the Mango Park after paying duty fee but this money does not help to ameliorate the tribe’s life.
I encountered many difficulties and problems when contemplating the cadres’ composition – a desire to have the right cadre taken in nature daylight during rapid weather changes and participants quiet behavior. Slush and mire, dirt with mud, black clouds and drizzling rain. It was impossible to use the photo flash light bulb and reflector light umbrella in order to soften the shadows. The tribe people were constantly shouting and murmuring beside us all the time with an aim to be in the photo.
Our guide tried to organize these people who as time went by became more aggressive. They openly showed their anger, vociferated, spit and yelled. Meanwhile the guard took time off and stated to clean the mud from his boots. The tribes’ women were quite scared of the flashlight, thinking it was a lightening. In order to quiet the crowd our guide told them that the flashlight dispersed the rain. The tribe people continued to surround and press on us, staring to be impatient and more curious. I stood with my spine pressed to the tree and all the time repeating my call to the people to move away in order to get the right focus distance by prime lens. The stench of unwashed covered by butter and mud bodies was appalling. This was an absolutely different world with another attitude, new colors, and odors. We were in a nauseating condition and after ten minutes of work made a break resting in the car.
Then we began to take photos from the car and only due to the tribes language known by guide it was possible to continue the work.
After leaving the village we stopped to take some snapshots of the children who were returning home. They told our guide that they did not like the smell of perfume, shampoo and wet clothes so they fended hands over their noses and said that we smelled like dogs. We succeeded in ending the work during cloudy weather without rain. I will always remember this unique day of my life!
Later we met other tribes in Omo Valley and also visited some of the most beautiful sites in north of Ethiopia.