Ethiopia’s Omo Valley | Africa’s Last Frontier, National Geographic Magazine

This is a fairly simple and sad story—a snapshot of cultures in southern Ethiopia that will disappear. The north-south axis of the story is the region’s life-sustaining Omo River, which will be choked by a dam. And the east-west axis of the story is the arms trade traveling across this area between Sudan and Somalia.  Sowhen the Gibe III dam goes online this culturally distinct area will be starving and heavily armed.

 The Omo River tribes are only 200,000 people standing in Ethiopia’s way of having steady electric power for 11 million.  Steady electric power equates directly to GDP growth and surprisingly often decreases population.  The dam that will provide electric power for Ethiopia will also choke off the food supply …

Ethiopia’s Omo Valley | Africa’s Last Frontier, National Geographic Magazine

This is a fairly simple and sad story—a snapshot of cultures in southern Ethiopia that will disappear. The north-south axis of the story is the region’s life-sustaining Omo River, which will be choked by a dam. And the east-west axis of the story is the arms trade traveling across this area between Sudan and Somalia.  Sowhen the Gibe III dam goes online this culturally distinct area will be starving and heavily armed.

 The Omo River tribes are only 200,000 people standing in Ethiopia’s way of having steady electric power for 11 million.  Steady electric power equates directly to GDP growth and surprisingly often decreases population.  The dam that will provide electric power for Ethiopia will also choke off the food supply for these tribes that rely on flood recession agriculture. Because the arms trade between Sudan and Somalia goes directly across their territory, every grown man in this area owns an AK-47.  These cultures that include the last of stick fighting, bull jumping and lip plates, have always been ruled by ritual and revenge. These tribes were already killing each other across the river over cropland before their food source was stressed. 

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Villagers on Kuchuru Riverbank Kara Tribal Elder Gibe III Dam Construction Child and His Baboon Omo Village Duss “is Dust” Women With Lip Plates Bull Jumping Manhood Ceremony Women are Whipped in Manhood Ceremony Bar in Tribal Ethiopia Tourists at a Tribal Ceremony Drinking With a Lip Plate Ethiopian Bride Ritual Party Before the Manhood Ceremony Building Supplies for Adornment A Gift in a Harsh Landscape Angling for Tourist Dollars Tourists in the Omo Valley Tribal Donga Stick Fight After the Donga Fight Brutal Donga Stick Fighting Donga Stick Fighting Rivals and Rituals Leisure Time for Men Omo Women Dance Hair Treatment of the Hamar Tribe Drought in The Omo River Valley Drought in Ethiopia Harvesting Sorghum Karo Village called Duss Arms Trade Crosses Borders Saving a Drowning Cow Cows are Money in the Omo Drinking Cow’s Blood Crocodile on Omo Riverbank Mursi Child with Leaf Frond
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