Our final day of visiting tribes and we end with one of the most famous, the Mursi. The Mursi women wear lip plates that give them a unique and unmistakable appearance. The tradition is believed to have originated from a time when their women were taken because of the good looks and to deter this lip plates were introduced to make them unattractive.
Our visit involved a 2 hour drive from the main regional city of Jinka into the Mago National Park where the Mursi are located. They have been subject to pressure from the government and foreign investment to vacate their lands so that plantations can be created and while new investment is good, a more balanced approach weighing all the pros and cons would create a better result, from what I have heard. The pressure on land is also impacting the wildlife in the park according to the Ranger we picked up to take us to the tribe.
As soon as we arrived the women and their lip plates were evident. The lip plates are hand made from clay and they each have a unique design. They women are able to take them in and out and some of them also have plates in their ears. The process to achieve this must be very painful. Tradition dictates the larger the lip plate, the larger the marriage dowry which is very unfortunate, but accepted as a normal practice.
Wow, give me some lip balm, I’m having sympathetic pain. What incredible photos. I’ve seen these people before but never like these. Andy, you have to make a book of your work in Ethiopia! It is so fine. I hope the blogs never end.
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