Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mursi Man, Earrings, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia, March, 2010

This portrait is the morning after the portrait below, in the middle of Mago National Park.

The night before we sleep near a stream and under a large tree. For our dinner, we have corn from the previous day and some canned tuna. While we sleep, a guard from the park services department watches out for us along with some men from his tribe, the very tribe we intend to photograph the next morning.

The reason for the decision to camp is based on the amount of gasoline remaining for the trip. Sleeping near the tribe allows us to eliminate the arduous trek over the mountain range and also lessens the wear and tear on the truck, as well as the driver.

Clouds, for some reason in the land of sunshine, decide to appear on the horizon just as the sun is shining most beautifully this entire week. Sleep is hard to find all night because of this. Every once in a while, I unzip the small tent and look up at the skies only to see stars. Then I go back to sleep only to repeat this a few times during the night.

In the morning, before the sun rises, I check on the sky one more time, seeing only stars. Excitement builds and we decide to move quickly. We pack all of our gear, place it on top of the truck and head to the village only a minute or so away.

As written in previous posts, a tribe that is supposed to be most difficult is in actuality more than gentle. We begin with the girls, then the women and then the older men. During this morning's session, a large cloud appears out of nowhere unexpectedly and seems to be moving in the same direction and with the same speed as the sun.

With the previous five days in mind, I almost decide to put everything away and give up. The translator tells me to be patient, tells me that the sun will reappear in less than one hour. In the end, he is right. The sun does reappear and even though it is higher and stronger than before, the people are able to stand up and collaborate beautifully.

We finish on a high note and move on to the next tribe, until our return next year hopefully.