Young Suri Girl Adorned

Trevor Cole
Omo Valley, Ethiopia. Tourism is perhaps leading to a reinvention of their tribal traits and traditions. Young girls and boys use innovative ways to adorn themselves. The use of clays has become a human art form. They compete with each other to attract tourist interest and financial gain from photography. Is this a bad thing or merely an evolution of traditional practices? They proudly show their scars and body art and enhance this with floral decoration. They use corn, berries, warthog tusks and cow horns to embellish their appearance. They work singly, in pairs or in clusters to draw interest. This brings the tribe an income to get medicines and food from markets but also, sadly, can lead to alcohol abuse. Tourism is unquestionably a double-edged sword, but it will grow. Hence there might be a case for encouraging tribal sustainability through these innovative forms of adornment. Whatever the case, the tribes must be the change they want to see in themselves.
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