Fat man in Bodi Tribe for Kael ceremony, Hana Mursi, Omo Valley, Ethiopia
The Bodi (or Meen) ethnic group live close to the Omo River in southern Ethiopia and have the Mursi tribe as south neighbor and Konso at north. They are pastoralists and agriculturalists, thus livestock plays a large role in the tribe. Along the banks of the river, they cultivate sorghum, maize and coffee.
For their new year in June, called Kael, Bodi men are overweight because they consume large amounts of blood and milk. This is a tradition that measures the body fat of a contestant. Each family or clan is allowed to enter an unmarried contestant. The winner of this contest is awarded great fame by the tribe. The women in the tribe wear goatskin skirts and have a plug inserted into their chin. Most of them are now Christians. In Hana
Mursi, the main town of the Bodis, the government plans to settle 300 000 people from all over Ethiopia over the next few years into the area. Along with the workers and soldiers, AIDS and Hepatitis B are coming too. They do not want to give up their traditions and their land to allow the new sugar cane plantations irrigated by the water of Gibe 3 dam, and live in the settlements planned by the government. If the Konso attempt to set foot on their land with the support of the government, clashes will erupt predict the Bodi elders.
© Eric Lafforgue