Members of the Mursi tribe, in the Omo Valley in southwestern Ethiopia.

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Members of the Mursi tribe in their village in the South Omo Valley.

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A member of the Mursi tribe, in the Omo Valley in southwestern Ethiopia.

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A member of the Mursi tribe shows her lip-plate, a chief visible distinguishing characteristic of the Mursi. A young woman, usually around 15 or 16, has her lip cut by her mother, or another woman of her settlement. The cut is held open by a wooden plug until the wound heels, then progressively larger plugs are inserted over a period of months until the lip is stretched to the desired size, chosen by the girl. The girl’s bottom teeth are also removed. In the Omo Valley.

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Mursi homes in the Omo Valley in southwestern Ethiopia.

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A Desanech woman and her daughter inside their home in Omorate, on the other side of the Omo River. The Desanech tribe don’t officially mark their age/birthdays, but she thought she was around 25 years old. I thought she looked younger. She has five children.

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The Desanech are one of Ethiopia’s poorest tribes, by far, which believe me, is saying something. The village in Omorate looked post apocalyptic (and I’m being generous), and the begging was ceaseless, and yet, there were moments of warmth and laughter to be found.

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A Desanech woman and her child in front of the their home in their village in Omorate, on the other side of the Omo river in the far southwest of Ethiopia, near the Kenyan border.

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The Desanech are one of Ethiopia’s poorest tribes, by far, which believe me, is saying something. Their village, located in Omorate, on the other side of the Omo River on the hot (40c), dusty plains, looked post apocalyptic, which in the world of developing countries, is a sad achievement.

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Members of the Nyangatom (Yangatom)/Bumi (Bume) tribe, who live in the far south of Ethiopia, very close to the South Sudan border – on the left is the first wife, and on the right, the second wife of a tribesman.

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A woman in the Nyangatom (Yangatom)/Bumi (Bume) tribe prepare Sorghum for her family. I was told it took her three to four hours to grind enough for one meal.

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Young girls in the Nyangatom (Yangatom)/Bumi (Bume) tribe, in their village of the same name.

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A Nyangatom (Yangatom)/Bumi (Bume) home in their village of the same name.

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Members of the Bena (Benna/Bana) tribe on market day in Key Afer.

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Bena (Benna/Bana) bull jumpers on market day in Key Afer. When it’s time for a boy in the Bena and Hamar tribe to become a man, he must jump over a number of bulls (smeared with dung to make them slippery) without falling. If he is able to do so, he becomes a man and may marry. Recently successful bull jumpers dress up in their best clothes and attend the market where, through an elder, the select the women they want to marry.

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A Bena (Benna/Bana) woman on market day in Key Afer.

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A member of the Tsemay (Tsemai) tribe on market day in Key Afer. Tsemay women tattoo their faces for beauty.

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Bena (Benna/Bana) women on market day in Key Afer.

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Members of the Karo tribe in Koricho. The woman on the right was the sister of my local translator, and the woman in the middle, who was reticent at first, soon warmed up, declared me her friend for life, and had me to her home to share a special meal of fish with her family.

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Alaba/Halaba women gather for a photo in their settlement, located along the road from Shashemene to Arba Minch in southwest Ethiopia. The Alaba people are known for images they paint on the inside and outside of their huts.

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