The Catholic church goes strong in Italy, and particularly in Sicily. To mark Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, each town puts on grand celebrations by parading large religious icons through the streets, accompanied by melancholy brass music. These procession may go on for hours and every town has its own agenda. Trapani holds the record for the most arduous procession, lasting a full 24 hours.
The South Omo region is one of the few places left on this planet where tribes live in their little micro cosmos (almost) free from external influences from the outside world. Not that the Ethiopian government has not tried to change some of the tribes’ customs such as ritual whipping of women (Hamar) and cutting of the lower lip for lip plates (Mursi), but the region is remote enough that these attempt have been relatively unfruitful so far. The government has tried to establish a measure of authority over a region that until recently didn’t know Ethiopia existed, by setting up police stations. The police were politely asked to “get out” by groups of men with automatic weapons knocking at the police station. They took the hint and left.
Most tribes are semi nomadic or nomadic, lifestock providing the necessities of life. Such a lifestyle and dwindling resources make conflicts inevitable. Tribal and inter-tribal wars usually erupt over grazing and cattle disputes. These mini wars are fought with automatic weapons and many fatalities can occur. Living in an area bordering an enemy tribe can be very dangerous for the male fighting population.
What’s fascinating about this region is that each tribe is like a small nation with completely different customs, laws, looks and origin. The map below may shed some light on the different ethnic groups and their locations.
Syria – a society separated by traditionalist and conservative religious elements on the one hand, and modern influences from the west through economic ties and ambitions of a free lifestyle on the other.
The high mortality rate of HIV positive people rips through the Ugandan society, leaving many children orphaned. Without the support of their immediate family, children are often left to fend for themselves. There are NGO initiatives underway to alleviate this problem. One such initiative arranges vocational training for orphans to help them learn a profession and eventually earn their own living. The hair salon in this essay trains two orphans supported by the NGO Uweso. This photo essay covers a normal working day from morning until evening for one of the trainees. Her name is Hilda and she is 16 years old.
Destitute refugees in Uganda are struggling to make a living by breaking stone in a quarry in Kireka near Kampala.
Check out the full slideshow in the portfolio section…
The Kingdom of Mustang is a remote valley in the northern reaches of Nepal’s Himalayas. Devoid of roads and inaccessible on foot for much of the year, it has retained its Tibetan population and lifestyle.
Mustang has the most beautiful landscape I ever saw and I may not have done it justice with my photos.
Visually speaking, Cuba is a very unique place. The mix of Caribbean lifestyle, communism with its characteristic crumbling infrastructure and American vintage cars is really quite something that is completely unique and can only be found in this combination here. Oh, and not to forget the puffing of huge rolled-up tobacco leaves in the form of cigars. It seems every good Cuban must smoke these. And then there is the Cuban messiah, Che Guevarra. Elevated to god-like status in the otherwise empty pantheon of communist gods, he provides quasi-religious dogma and political doctrine at the same time. This winning combination acts like a glue on society and helps to govern them under the communist regime. Not to forget the fight against the big enemy in the north, the USA, which distracts from internal problems and directs aggressions towards external entities.