post People We Forget

May 8th, 2008

Filed under: Photo Stories — Admassu @ 21:41

I am going through my digital video archive.

Digital imaging is a blessing, you can take them and archive them easily and cheaply. Digital imaging is a curse, you don’t know what you have archived because you have too much of it within a small period of time. So, coincidentally, while I was going through my material, I came across a certain occasion I took part back in Addis some years ago . For it was just a short video episode, I started to scroll through each frame to help me recall the atmosphere of that occasion.


I remember, an old friend of mine took me to a “Mels” ceremony. Apart from this friend, I knew no one there. But, as you might well know, that is not a big problem in Addis; you know one means you can take part and know everyone afterwards.

While looking through each frame of this video, I have recalled faces that I have already forgotten a long time ago. This laughing friendly people on my screen also wouldn’t remember seeing me before. It raises somehow a strange feeling to know that we meet people in many special occasions but the memory that usually remains in our mind will only be the occasion it self.


The area was somewhere in Addis where one rarely sees huge villas. Though the only room of that house was so small, we were around fifty in there. One could easily see that the parents of the married girl were leading a life that couldn’t be described as luxurious. But they surely did their best in organizing that occasion for their daughter.


The decorative color of brown and yellow from the Tella and the house made Tej in bottles with rolled paper caps accompanied by plenty of traditional food from the best kitchen of the bride’s mother were superb. The small room was filled with the odor of the food and the served beverage. Elderly neighbors were quite jolly in their attitude, they must have been busy tasting the drink earlier.


All the neighbors of the family were present. Every body seemed to know each other for a life time sharing all social happening of that area. The hosts, the father and the mother, were visibly nervous and caring. I still remember them going to each guest encouraging to drink, to eat and to dance Iskista.


After the festive eating and drinking ceremony, the place was cleared to make space for the young guests to dance. They have been insisting on that right after everybody was clearly satisfied with the eating and drinking part. Soon all guests were standing and clapping their hands while waiting for their turn to be in the center and do some incredible stuff with their shoulder.


I remember also doing my part and showing my Iskista talent once or twice. There was no hired professional singer so all were involved in singing; some with descent voice and some far from the right key note. The ceremony had taken quite a long time. We have been there till around 2 a.m. and that was quite late for that area.


Now, going through this video frame by frame, I remember those faces. I don’t know their names and none of them asked me for mine. The faded memory is once again alive through these unreal images and I am surprisingly nostalgic. Who were these people? Where are they now? What are they doing? Is that girl still married?…. So many questions without answers.

Digital imaging, curse or blessing?…….

post Photo Story IV, Acoustic

April 12th, 2008

Filed under: Photo Stories — Admassu @ 12:46

When was that last time you heard your footsteps loud and crispy clear while taking a walk in the mid of a day? On uneven korokonch road, eventually stepping on loose stones and hearing the cracking sound your shoes send in to the surrounding acoustic air….


…. where you are far from technology orchestrated fuss of our modern era, where cars rarely pass-by and their usual dominating and constant motor noise seldom reaches your ears….


… where the smallest living creature occupies the whole area with it’s shrill tone accompanying you on your way and constantly warning that you are not the only essential living being on the world…


…where various forms of nature come together to build a phenomenal beauty of appearance…


… where animals you usually know as food in a frozen form or on a grill machine show you how smart they actually are if you let them manage their life…


… where some scenes make you forget about great painting masterpieces just by displaying amazing artistic sets of happenings in front of your very eyes…


… where you see fruits in their natural form in stead of on sterile supermarket shelves…


….where kids laughter fill the air and let you forget your stereotype conclusions about poor and rich…


….where under the nature spectacle from above, the vast landscape and cityscape reminds you how small and tiny you actually are….


…. where one-horse-power vehicles with their colorful constructions and air-conditioned interiors take you to your appointments and where you almost tempted to sing a groovy song to the rhythm that the Gari makes on the way…


…. where the sound of a heavy rain fills the air and you see how the scene around you starts to behave accordingly adapting it self to this happening ….


…. and where you at last be one of the whole, where you stop feeling alien and be accepted as a member?

You don’t remember going through this experience? If your answer is “yes”, then it is about time you visit Imama Ethiopia and spend your vacation away from Addis and away from technology orchestrated acoustic.

post Photo Journal: Wood Collector

March 27th, 2008

Filed under: Photo Stories — Lissan Magazine @ 13:42

Ethiopian wood collector
by Penny Dale, BBC Africa Live

Two days’ food
As the Nobel Peace Prize highlights the environmental role of women in Africa, Amaretch, 10, from the capital, Addis Ababa, tells of her daily struggle.


My name, Amaretch, means “the beautiful one”. I am the youngest of four children in my family. Today, I spent from 0300 to 1500 collecting the branches of eucalyptus trees which people use as firewood. I will sell this big bundle at the market for about $2. This will feed my family for a couple of days


This is one of the hills that I have to walk up with my bundle of wood, which I have collected from the big Entoto mountain, which overlooks Addis Ababa. It is very steep and and it is very far from where I live. I get very tired. Sometimes, one of my brothers or sisters will get up early in the morning to collect firewood instead of me.

No chopping trees


This is my friend Aregash Bayesa. The eucalyptus leaves are used by people in the fire as they cook their injera bread, which Ethiopians eat at every meal. What she has collected today will buy her some coffee and a bit of cereal for her children. Sometimes she goes to collect the leaves every day, sometimes only once a week. It depends on whether her husband has managed to get work. We don’t chop down the trees because we are not allowed.


Business loans


This is Etensh Ajele, 36. She used to carry wood for 12 years until she got help from the Former Women Fuelwood Carriers’ Association. She now runs this group and helps other women who were forced to carry wood because they were so poor and did not have enough education to do anything else.

“We train women in other skills and gives them loans so that they can start a business. We sell what they make in our shop,” she says.




“Weaving is one of the things that we help former firewood carriers with,” Etensh says. “Most women know how to weave but do not have enough money to buy materials. So we provide that and we also help them with new and different designs so that they can sell the shawls and dresses that they make more easily. Some Ethiopians buy our goods but mostly they are bought by tourists when we take them to a monthly market.”




These are the children of women who used to carry firewood. They are taught by members of the Former Women Fuelwood Carriers Association. They say it is nice to be able to go to school to get an education while their mothers are at work.




I don’t want to have to carry wood all my life. But at the moment I have no choice because we are so poor. All of us children carry wood to help our mother and father buy food for us. I would prefer to be able to just go to school and not have to worry about getting money.

Photos and interviews by Penny Dale, BBC Africa Live


Source: BBC

post Photo Story III, Y. Cheffe

March 24th, 2008

Filed under: Photo Stories — Admassu @ 13:28

Yirga Cheffee (photos: Admassu)

This is the final episode of my photo story on Yirga Cheffe. Before taking other themes in this series, I would like to take you to the place beyond the town it self. Yirga Cheffe is a small town and it doesn’t have many diversities to fill my day. To avoid repetition of my daily routine, I usually go hiking around the remotest nearby areas. That is actually where you meet the real people and atmosphere. So let’s start the tour…


… it was raining for a while as usual but has just stopped. The sun has taken it’s usual place again….



…. going to be a nice start of my tour. I am already meeting friendly and eager faces on my way…



… the new beginning of the daily scene on the road means that …



…. I am going to meet more eager and friendly faces everywhere who want to know who I am ….



…. if there is something unusual about the road scene is that I seldom see grownups. It seems as if small children are the one who are managing the daily life here ….



… I see them managing their parents businesses ….



… and taking care of the transportation of their cattle to the market ….



… guarding their homes and property with ….



… a demonstrative confidence and determination ….



…. or even giving useful services to their village by doing errands earning some coins…



…. When I keep on walking deep in to the landscape, the forest is filled with it’s organic coffee trees and ready-to-harvest coffee beans. The awesome color contrast is everywhere …



…. even when I meet the people who live here and chat with them, I am more aware of the contrast of color…



…. The people here are quite friendly. After they once know that I am just interested in their life and surrounding, they invite me to their yard…



… invite me to a coffee ceremony. And the kids even bring me fruits from their backyard …



…. and they watch me photographing each fruit before eating it. They ask me bewildered, what is so special about a fruit and why am I spending my precious film on some dumb thing like that. I wouldn’t dare to explain to them what all that means to me because I don’t want to spoil their day by doing so…


post Photo Story II, Y. Cheffe

March 23rd, 2008

Filed under: Photo Stories — Admassu @ 03:19

Yirga Cheffe after Rain (photo: Admassu)

When it stops raining the sun usually appears right away. So one is glad about this quick change of the nature scene….


… even though the back yards of many houses are still wet and uncomfortable to walk through…



….. or even if some small roads could still be muddy and uncrossable…..



…. or even if small children need help to cross some side roads….



…. or even if the misty hills give their sign about another rainy hours ….



…. the new weather does some magic and the normal behavior of the surrounding starts all over again ….



…. and the sun does it’s job quickly and within few hours the town looks like as if it hasn’t seen any rain for months…



…. and if you take a walk to the town you might even encounter…



…. that some are already looking for shelter from the sun….



…. or you might see kids playing their new founded games… or if you are lucky….



… you might even meet an interesting individual to chat with….


post Photo Story I, Yirga Cheffe

March 21st, 2008

Filed under: Photo Stories — Admassu @ 01:56

Yirga Cheffe (Photos by Admassu)

It is always green in Yirga Cheffe and also in the surrounding areas. Actually, the majority of the landscapes in southern Ethiopia wears green through out the year. Yirga Cheffe is one of the extreme examples. When it rains, you better remain at home. But can one do that if it never stops raining the whole day and night? The roads are not walkable and there is no way to scape the red mud if you are out there once. Here are some photographs to underline my statement….

Not an easy game to be a student here…


… but quite a refreshing break for horses, because they usually don’t have any…


… some animals use the opportunity to take over the town …


… it is your best friend if you have the right shoes … and it is also your worst enemy if you have the wrong shoes …


… car wash is quite a flourishing business in Yirga Cheffe…


… drenched with rain but never lost his humor…


… don’t worry we are not in the Far East. The art of bamboo umbrellas is an old tradition here …


More photo stories from Yirga Cheffe are coming soon…

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