photo by @randyolson | words by @neilshea13 Si…

Dublin Core


photo by @randyolson | words by @neilshea13 Si…


Neil Shea







POINT (-13676650.4721466, 5704490.49835927)

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photo by @randyolson | words by @neilshea13 Sister, how much did you make from the white people today? When they came down the Omo and asked you to put in the lip plate and then with their cameras went click click click, did you demand what was right? Did they pay it? I don't mind making money, but sometimes making it that way tires me. That's why I walked out of the village when I heard their car. All night the babies were up crying and today my lip feels dry and cracked. I didn't feel like wearing the plate or painting myself with clay. Some of the men say it's just business. Well then, it's my business if I wear it for my husband, or when we go to see the donga, the stick-fighting, or for the tourists. But they annoy me. And the highlanders who work for the government, they also are just noisy. Do you remember when they came last month and said, You Mursi people must not cut your lips or wear the plate any more! It's a backward and harmful tradition! We told them Yes, yes, we agree! No more lip plates! And soon as they left all the woman slipped their plates back in and we pranced around like they do, like ostriches. Everyone laughed and laughed. All these people who think they know something. What do they know? One day you and I will go be tourists somewhere and we will look at them. We'll ride in a car. I'll buy a camera. And you can reach out through the window and give them each a dollar.
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. Join us at @randyolson and @neilshea13 as we follow water through the desert. You can also find this flashback series archived here: #omoriver2009.

#2009 #africa #ethiopia #omoriver #mursi #beauty #women #portrait #rivers #conservation #geneticislands #documentary #instajournalism #instaessay #natgeo @thephotosociety




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