Thirdeyemom

The Faces of Ethiopia: A Photoblog

Ethiopia, a magical land of over 90 million people, is one of the most diverse nations in the world with over 83 distinct languages and 200 dialects. What stunned me the most about Ethiopians is how such a diverse group of people live in peace and harmony. Over half the population is Orthodox Christian and the next largest religious group is Muslims making up around 45% of the population. Despite their different religious beliefs, Muslims and Christians live side by side and oftentimes there can be a mixture of religions within families due to marriage. The main eight ethnic groups also live together peacefully which says a lot about this poverty-stricken nation in the heart of Africa.

While I was in Ethiopia these past two weeks, Oxford University released The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), ranking Ethiopia as the second poorest country in the world just ahead of Niger. The report claims that although Ethiopia has made some progress, Ethiopia is still home to more than 76 million poor people, the fifth largest number in the world after India, China, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The report also claims that the highest percentage of poor live within the rural areas which is no surprise given the fact that over 85% of Ethiopians earn a living off the land.

Despite the often heartbreaking, overwhelming poverty of the Ethiopian people, the one thing they all seemed to have in common is resilience and resolve with their place in this world. I had never seen so many genuine, welcoming smiles upon their faces despite the hardships they face. I was always greeted with curiosity, warmth and kindness by the Ethiopians I met. Here are some of my favorite faces of Ethiopia.

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

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Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of EthiopiaFaces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

Faces of EthiopiaFaces of Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia

 

I have many stories to share over the next few months. Stay tuned….

This post is based on my reporting trip to Ethiopia with the International Reporting Project. #EthiopiaNewborns on twitter and social media. 

 

43 comments

    • Kathy, you are one of my greatest supporters! I truly sincerely thank you and know someday I will make it to Ecuador to meet you and Sara in person!

    • Thanks Sue! 🙂 I have more as you know!!! 🙂 Just need to figure out how to tell all these stories. I learned so incredibly much!

    • Thanks Sally! I am glad you enjoyed. It was hard to take pictures there as oftentimes we were indoors with no light in people’s homes. These ones turned out nice though. 🙂

  1. Congrats Nicole, I can easily imagine this was an extraordinary and potentially life-changing experience. And, though, I’m not surprised you’ve brought this amazing-stock-of-beautiful-and-full-of-content images from Ethiopia and its people, I am left with this so symbolic (as you often used to) last one: Ethiopian children getting over their hardships and going towards a better and clearer future. Brilliant capture!

  2. Hi Nicole,
    They were lovely pictures. Maybe we can learn something from them. Our priorities are a little mixed up.
    Leslie

    • Thanks Leslie. Yes, it drives me crazy because our priorities are mixed up. It is hard to come back sometimes after being in a place like Ethiopia. I often find that the people in these places are happier with much less than the ones in the western world who seem miserable with way too much. That is why I travel. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Angeline! Yes it was an incredible trip and now I have my heart set on seeing more of Africa. It is truly a magical place.

  3. Gorgeous photos, Nicole. I was struck by the level of poverty when I visited Nicaragua, but so amazed by how happy and kind the people were. Can’t wait to hear more about your trip!

    • Thanks Jennifer! Yes isn’t it true that oftentimes people of poverty seem way happier than we do here in the US? We take so much for granted and often our priorities in life are really messed up. We need to chat soon. I will try you next week!!!

  4. These are really powerful photos which makes me rethink about my current life which I should be appreciating.. Love to catch more of your updates in the future..

  5. The woman wearing black ?rubber gloves with her hands in a yellow pan – is she dyeing yarn? And the one with six young men – I have a very similar one that I took in Guatemala. Seems like teen-aged boys are the same everywhere!
    Thanks for the wonderful photos of the Ethiopian people.

    • Yes the woman wearing rubber gloves is dyeing raw cotton which will be used to make scarves. We went to tour an NGO to help women off the streets by teaching them to make scarves. I am going to write about it in the common months. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  6. I think I enjoy your random photos of people the most Nicole. You have a way of capturing their spirit beautifully. 🙂

    • Thanks Madhu! I’m so glad you enjoyed! I loved the children the most too. They always ran up to me with their curious smiles and loved getting their photos taken. They giggled when I showed them the images!

  7. Nicole, you are a master at portrait photography. You have captured the essence of the Ethiopian people, young and old. One question…I see that there are many weavers. What do they weave? Can they make a sufficient living with their weaving? This is truly a very diverse country. With 83 distinct languages, can they communicate with others or do they live in areas where they speak the same language?

    • Oh thank you so much! 🙂 Yes there are lots of weavers but what I learned is actually it is traditionally a man’s job! Isn’t that interesting? We visited a scarf factory and the men from the villages were teaching the woman. As for the basket, plate and bowl weavers I think this is traditionally done by women but I’m not positive. The photos in this blog of the women weaving the bowls are doing it at a NGO called Project Mercy. They make the baskets to sell on the website in the states as a way to raise money for Project Mercy’s services which I’ll write about soon. As for the languages, I think most know Amharic the national language but I bet when you get really remote some people only speak in their distinctive languages. Good questions!

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