Ethiopia 2016 by Trisha Finlay Fotography

My year started out with an awe inspiring trip back to Africa, to visit Ethiopia and 'The Lost Tribes' of the Omo Valley. For me Africa is the magnetic centre of the universe, continually drawing me back. I love Africa , my dream is to continue to return there and visit every country on the continent, to be with its beautiful people, amazing animals and ever changing landscapes.


I have called this beautiful woman Madonna, She and her husband, with AK47 in hand, were Ethiopian forest protectors . She welcomed us and allowed me into her small thatched home, on top of a forested mountain, to meet her family and husband.

Making friends along the way. Market day in Mizan Teferi.

Being the only white woman in this huge market I felt surprisingly comfortable but amused at the stares and being followed by hundreds of kids and men. One unforgettable experience.

Mum and daughter

The Omo Valley, a place of mystery, ancient culture and a life far removed from ours. The beauty of travel, for me, is putting myself in a world utterly different from my own and connecting to the common humanity of it all.

Suri Tribe

Calvin, a very bright, intelligent young man.

Humbled at the chance - a chance that few people will ever have - of being in the remotest part of the west Omo Valley in Ethiopia, in spitting distance of the Sudanese border, among the Suri tribe. There are only about 2500 of these marginalized people remaining.

One of our guards

We slept in tents in the compound of an abandoned school.... there were kids decorated to the hilt (their ceremonial wardrobe included paint and floral headdresses) Kalashnikov wielding security guards, women with plates in their lips and earlobes stretched long , the complete absence of branding, advertising or the sound of a mobile phone(HEAVEN) -and electricity a good few hours drive away. Dinner was cooked with the assistance of the chief's wife, how cool is that? I did wonder what had happened to the live chicken that had been walking around camp.

Face painting reminded me of the Australian Indigenous patterns.
Old woman smoking

The funniest women alive. A great story teller, animated and so willing to smoke away on her pipe.I only found out later that the base of the pipe was filled with home made grog. She had been puffing away for so long , she fell over and rolled on the ground,I thought she had died. I was so worried for her but her family members just laughed and left her there to recover.

The funniest women.
Young cow herders waiting to have their morning cuppa-blood from the cows neck.

Scarification, the modern way with razor blades, otherwise thorns were used.

How is Scarification done?
Stunning young girls and typical teenagers. Wanted to get going, as they had things to do!
Another guard working hard. We weren't in any danger, it was other local tribes who come to steal their cattle.
Faces tell of a very hard existence.

Living in the land of coffee but unable to afford the beans. To make a cup of coffee, the women gather coffee bean shells and boil them up and as usual, those who have nothing are offering visitors a cuppa. My heart melted.

Making coffee in the land of coffee.
Jewellery and scarification
Waiting at the market.
Cattle herder along a dusty trail

Mursi Tribe

The Mursi have a reputation for being one of the more aggressive tribes on the continent and are famous for their stick fighting ceremony – the donga. None of the men were in the village when we visited; they were out avenging the theft of some of their cattle, that had been stolen the night before by a neighbouring tribe.

While Western influences slowly creep into this, and other, tribes, the Mursi still adhere fairly strictly to their traditional and unique culture. Lip plates- which girls start wearing around puberty (they start with small ones, and as their lips stretch they trade them in for bigger and bigger ones) - are just one of their adornments. Scarification is also popular.

Hamar Tribe

Men spend the majority of the time caring for animals, which are also used to pay a dowry when the man takes a wife, generally amounting to 30 goats and 20 cows. Women care for crops such as maize and sorghum.

Hamar women cover their bodies with ocher and animal fat.

A Hamar blacksmith or gito, fits a young girl with her first iron collar or esente. The esente will never leave her until death. The blacksmith’s other creations, especially heavy leg rings called zau are extremely valuable.

Cows also form part of the Hamar male initiation rite, which involves contenders attempting to leap over a row of 15 cows made extra slippery with dung. At the same ceremony, the man's sisters and other female relatives are beaten across their backs to create a blood debt so the man remembers to help them should they face tough times in the future.

Becoming a man. Cow jumping ceremony.

The Omo tribes use anything to add to their decorations, such as hair clips, watch bands, bottle tops.

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