Ethiopia’s Omo Valley | Africa’s Last Frontier, National Geographic Magazine: Cows are Money in the Omo

The Omo brings life to all tribes people and animals. Cattle and goats have pulverized the drought-prone Omo River Valley region into dust. The animals are prized symbols of wealth; in many tribes men cannot marry without paying large bride-prices of livestock. Tribal members would much rather have cows than paper money.

This is Boli Crossing near Lake Diba where local pastoralists bring their cows and goats to drink. Lake Diba is a boon to the Karo and supplies a lot of their food.  The lake fills up when the Omo floods.  Even though the Gibe III Dam under construction in Ethiopia is supposed to unleash a flood once a year, there is still skepticism. Locals say, “They may as well come here and kill us.”



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