Photo by @randyolson | words by @neilshea13 So…

Dublin Core


Photo by @randyolson | words by @neilshea13 So…


Neil Shea







POINT (-13677435.0371121, 5706808.41080748)

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Photo by @randyolson | words by @neilshea13 Sometimes the monkeys warn you. When a big croc appears, drifting like deadwood in the dark water, the monkeys see it and scream. An awful madness fills the canopy. Then the croc submerges. The monkeys grow calm. The water again goes blank. River crocs are more dangerous than those downstream, in the lake. It is said lake crocs eat only fish and have no appetite for humans. River crocs, though, thicker and longer, ambushers of cattle and buffalo, know their power and likewise our weakness. They are cunning, patient. And there is this: the people believe they are evil, spirit messengers sent for vengeance and justice, to pull the guilty down to hell. If you are a righteous person, you have nothing to fear. If you are not sure where you stand, well. Watch yourself at the riverbank. I knew someone who was taken. A small boy, not quite a teen. His name was Masirasha. When I went out wandering, the village elders sent him along to keep me out of trouble. We never saw trouble so instead he taught me names of plants and birds and tied a bracelet of beads around my wrist. Quiet kid, sweet smile. Learning English. A few years later I got an email from an elder, the one who knew about email. Masirasha had been crossing the Omo in a strange place. Late for school, maybe, or hungry or distracted. Some reason behind the risk. I have imagined it many times, even dreamed of it. There was a silent rise, a sudden splash. No monkeys in the trees to warn him.

For the last six years, Randy Olson and I have been documenting change, conflict, and culture in the watershed that connects southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. This week, we'll publish in @natgeo magazine the latest in our series, #NGwatershedstories. You can also find this flashback series archived here: #omoriver2009. Join us at @randyolson and @neilshea13 as we follow water through the desert.

#2009 #africa #ethiopia #omoriver #kara #crocodile #life #death #evil #rivers #conservation #geneticislands #documentary #instajournalism #instaessay #takenotes @thephotosociety




Neil Shea, “Photo by @randyolson | words by @neilshea13 So…,” The InstaEssay Archive, accessed August 6, 2020,