Ethiopia is now Africa's fastest growing economy. A country that in the 1980s and 1990s had experienced severe famine crises due to drought and war, is witnessing the greatest transformation of its recent history, with economic growth around 10% and one of the highest rates of urbanization in the world. In addition, Ethiopia has sought peace with its longtime adversary, Eritrea; it has freed prisoners; opened access to websites and television channels that it had blocked for political reasons, and it invited banned political organizations and their leaders to return from exile.
This unprecedented and rapid change comes against a more disconcerting backdrop of unrest, placing a massive strain on established political, economic and social systems. Despite the impressive growth and modernization, Ethiopia is still one of the poorest countries in the world and full of social contrasts, where nomadic shepherds with their Kalashnikovs rifles, live only a few miles from modern neighborhoods in the capital Addis Ababa.
As a multiethnic giant with around 100 million people belonging to more than 80 ethnic groups and under a questionable democratic system, the country is at a crucial moment in which society will have to deal with complex issues such as massive rural exodus, political freedom, and ethnic tensions.
Muhammad, from the Afar people, protects the herd from other rival tribes.
Afar Region is the most neglected area in Ethiopia. Despite its significant geopolitical position and untapped natural resources, the region is left in political and economic disarray by successive central powers. The combination of sinister political maneuver, rampant corruption, and inconsistent development projects have exacerbated the social, economic and environmental adversities of the Afar people. A major part of pastoralist community that makes 85% of the region’s population has been displaced due to federal agricultural projects and regime-affiliated investors. This was done without sustainable resettlement and reorientation towards the agro-pastoral way of life. Environmental degradation, recurrent drought, highly polluted Awash River, unmet health needs and border conflicts are among the few challenges to mention. Consequently, the Afar region remains the poorest of all within Ethiopian federation.
Scarecrow Soldier, Tigray region. The Eritrean–Ethiopian War took place in 1998 with the final peace only agreed in 2018. The confrontation took place on the borders of the Tigray Region- Eritrea and both countries spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the war and suffered tens of thousands of casualties as a direct consequence of the conflict. Only minor border changes resulted.
Amhara Village, Amhara Region, Ethiopia. About 90% of the Amhara are rural and make their living through farming, mostly in the Ethiopian highlands. Recently, the government has invested in infrastructure such as houses, schools and wells for the rural population, in an effort to integrate the country.
A boy named Kofi stands in front of a gas station that is being built next to his house on the road around Awash. Ethiopia, for the first time ever, began producing crude oil at Kalub and Hilala fields on Thursday in the eastern part of the country. The Chinese company Poly-GCL Petroleum Investment Limited is responsible for the extraction of both crude oil and natural gas in the Ogaden area, Somali regional state in eastern Ethiopia.
Arega Tefera, left the rural area to work with tourism in the city of Lallibella.
Bole, suburb of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In order to modernize the capital Addis Ababa, the government has built a series of housing estates in the suburbs in order to allocate the population that has been removed from its original neighborhoods.
Adunga, resident of one of the housing estates built by the government, Bole, Ethiopia.
Modjo Dry Port is Ethiopia’s first dry port development which started on a small scale at the end of 2009, relieving the congested Djibouti facilities and strengthen the Ethio-Djibouti trade corridor.
In capital Addis Ababa, an emerging consumer society is gaining ground, influenced by the presence of new Western and Chinese investments.
Berhanu and his helper Dula, a private street guard in Addis Ababa. Berhanu came from the countryside to the capital in search of better opportunities. According to the Ethiopian Central Statistics Agency, the urban population is projected to nearly triple with annual growth rate of 3.8 percent. This means, it will reach 42.3 million by 2037.
Ethiopia only opened recently to international tourism. The political context of closure, recurrent famines, and wars impeded the emergence of any tourist activity around the different Ethiopian World Heritage sites during the 1980s and 1990s. A "tourism master plan" is being finalized by the government to boost visitor numbers, which are already growing by 10% a year.
For much of the last decade, Ethiopia has been a leading investment destination in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly from China, which has loaned more than 13 billion dollars between 2006 and 2015 for everything from roads and railways to commercial and industrial parks. In the capital Addis Ababa, the Chinese presence is still more evident, they are rebuilding the city.
A skyscraper currently under construction by a Chinese company in Addis Ababa. Upon completion, it will be the tallest building in Addis Ababa and thus Ethiopia. It will serve as the headquarters of the state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, the country's largest bank.
In the last decade, Brazil has become an emigration destination for the African continent. It is the largest flow recorded since the colonial period when about 5 million people crossed the Atlantic and made Brazil the country with the largest black population outside of the African continent.
In this context, the Senegalese are responsible for the second largest flow, establishing communities mainly in the South and Southeast regions of Brazil. Although Senegal is not at war, it is one of the poorest countries in the world with more than half of its population illiterate and two thirds unemployed. Work is at the center of the lives of these immigrants, and it is the main factor that legitimizes migratory decisions.
Another central feature of Senegalese migration is the affective relationship with those who stayed in Africa. Financial remittances reinforce the bonds between those who left and those who stayed. Therefore, this immigration must be understood in relation to both sides; there are projects and dreams of both, it is a family movement. The affective bonds are being reconstituted in different spaces, revealing internal agreements, economic and social dynamics and relations that preserve obligations, morals and family feelings. These links are facilitated by new communication technologies.
This essay arises from my personal experience with a group of Senegalese who works in the neighborhood I live in (Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro)
The population dynamics of rural areas in the semi-arid region of Brazil has been marked by a drastic decrease in population, especially in the last 50 years. Researchers of the demographic dynamics point out that the great change observed in the last years is the conversion of the generalized rural exodus into a more selective process, which preferentially sends the young and highly productive population to the cities. This selective exodus of young people intensifies the aging of the population, a social phenomenon that marks the most recent period.
Lack of perspective and newly arrived infrastructure in the field, as well as new technologies, have enabled a profound cultural transformation. The young generation, now connected to new references, tends to migrate in search of opportunities away from isolation and hard work in the fields. A large part of the new generation wants to be included in urban and contemporary class society, even as a proletarian and a resident on the periphery of the city, whether small or large. The countryside has aged and rural youth also want access to the assets of other youth.
Faced with this emptying, the old generation that remains may be the last representative of traditional culture, permeating survival away from their departed heirs. In this difficulty of convergence between the old and the new, many choose to remain in their places of origin, perpetuating the connection, even if alone, with their physical and symbolic universe.
This essay proposes a reflection on the current context of the traditional populations of the semi-arid country side of Brazil facing the youth exodus and modernization, which materializes in the isolation of its members unable to incorporate new contemporary practices.
Brazil, a country marked by a highly contested rural landscape that has pit traditional communities—quilombolas, indigenous people, and small-scale farmers—against capital investment. Too often, the result is violence.
A research shared with Unearthed by Brazilian hyman rights NGO (CPT), shows that 37 people have been killed in the first six months of 2017 in rural land conflicts, eight more than at the same time in 2016. Most deaths were attributed to plantations or large ranches on land that has been claimed by rural communities.
In many Brazilian states, vast amounts of land have no clear owner. This ambiguity has facilitated the entrance of agribusiness, mining, and logging activity, which has surged in north-central Brazilian states. Under state control, these areas can be granted in collective or individual titles to rural communities or sold to private interests. In some cases, they are targets of land grabbing. According to data from Amnesty International, hundreds of municipalities in states like Pará, Tocantins, and Maranhão have an impunity rate of 100% when it comes to murders of agricultural laborers over the past 43 years.
Comissioned by National Geographic
Located in the delta of Paraíba do Sul river, one of the most important rivers in the Brazilian southeast region, Atafona is a place that unveils the action of time on contemporary society and the crisis in the relation between men and nature. The primary object is a setting disrupted by the action of the dynamic and implacable nature, as well as the human issues presented by this universe.
In the past decades, the sea has been rising and submerging tens of the small town’s quarters. Its dunes conceal about 400 buildings, among public constructions, residential blocks, hotels, a gas station and a church. A group of factors that include rising sea levels, strong winds and the disastrous human interventions all along the riverbed, made Atafona the biggest case of sea erosion in Brazil. In past years were build more than 12 dams and hundreds of extra irrigation canals. About 60% of its water volume are used to supplies the city of Rio de Janeiro. The hydric deficit at the river’s estuary precisely caused by these kinds of interventions is the most responsible for so much erosion in the delta, as it cannot counteract the invading ocean.
Brazil has the world’s largest renewable water resources — with nearly twice as much as Russia, which is in second place, and 12 to 16% of the world’s total supply. The country is now facing the consequences of its abuses in the past. In 2015, other two important brazilian rivers, São Francisco and Rio Doce, were condemned. São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, is running dry. It's a starting point for debates on the causes and trends regarding the use and conservation of Brazil’s hydric resources.
Kibbutz Hulata is located in the Upper Galilee area of Northern Israel, in the southern part of the Hula Valley. It was founded as a fishing villagein 1936.
Buffeted badly as their economic model proved nonviable, by the late 1970s many kibbutz had descended into economic collapse, which was followed by an unfavorable debt arrangement. Bruised and battered, the kibbutzniks had to dump their own myth of the idealistic agricultural collective. They also found themselves reaping another bitter fruit entirely of their own making: children leaving and not returning. The next generation was moving away.
The kibbutz’s had certain assets, though. The underlying idea, that man should work the land and live in brotherhood, freedom and equality, created forces that fed excellent education systems, a wealth of cultural activities and the platform for rethinking the model. In the past years, Hulata began by wooing back prodigal children, declared their effort to regain the lost generation, the kibbutz then looked outward more broadly, and began a second expansion accepting new members from the outside, most of them people that wants to work outside the kibbutz but enjoy their sense of community.
This essay is about the daily life of an Christian/Jewish family who lives in Hulata kibbutz for 2 yeras.
Over the past 10 years, I have created a mosaic of portraits, captured in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where I live. There is nothing specifically recognizable about this iconic place; rather I try to find universal imagery to capture the complexity of everyday life in an urban setting of its people. The “Tropical City” series brings the underworld and stereotypes: the corrupt governor, the police officer, the refugee, the prostitute, the zika generation, the soccer player, representations of people that I met along the years.
Commissioned by National Geographic (Brazil)
At the end of the 19th Century, the development of the vulcanization process to extract rubber from the native Amazonian Hevea Brasiliensis transformed rubber in an important raw material for the newborn automobile industry. Around 1903, the Amazon was responsible for almost the entire rubber output of the world, and foreign investments triggered major transformations in the region, giving birth to a short-lived period called the jungle belle époque.
The need to absorb areas distant from the main production centers gave birth to the idea of building a railroad to help the outflow of items produced in western Brazil and Bolivia to the Amazon River waterway. It would be the first major engineering enterprise of its kind undertaken by the United States abroad. A railroad built at the heart of the most wild, obscure and remote tropical forest in the world. Its construction claimed more than eight thousand lives and became the greatest epic of the Amazon in the 20th Century.
British success cultivating native Amazon rubber trees in their Asian possessions plummeted rubber production in Brazil. Like the epic railroad, the entire western Amazon region was sunk in deep lethargy.
A Century after being built and four decades after its deactivation, the railroad which was once the backbone of western Brazil and the founding myth of cities in the jungle reveals an unknown part of the Amazon. A witnesses of troubled times which has withstood the test of time, survived the steady march of the forest and outlived the solitude surrounding its tracks.
As opposed to past beliefs, there is strong evidence that the brazilian indigenous populations are growing in the last decades. In this context and taking into consideration the interactions and assimilation processes with other cultures, the issues of the indigenous’ sense of identity are extremely delicate.
This essay is aimed to approach the issues surrounding the ethnical identity of Brazil’s remaining indigenous peoples and how the rest of the society regards them. Willing to debate ways for their permanence at the core of the Brazilian nation as an essential part of its people, several questions come up, such as: Who is the indigenous person nowadays? What defines his/her identity? Why do they take up such a romanticized and distorted place within the Brazilian society’s imagery?
The close shots portray members of a single ethnic background in their own environment and wearing day-to-day costumes, not those associated with traditional symbols and rituals. The images highlight the different phenotypic patterns among members of a same ethnicity and demystify the overwhelming idea of the traditional indigenous person as rationalized by the Brazilian society. This way, they explore the means through which changes prompted by decades of contacts with various references were incorporated into the indigenous cultures, giving their cultural identity a whole new meaning.
Road to Ladakh
Ladakhi is a tri-border area (India, China and Pakistan) located on the inside of the Himalayan ridge, one of the most inhospitable places on earth. The only two roads that connect the region to the rest of India remain blocked by snow during 8 months a year. The isolation, the lack of resources and the adverse conditions contributed to the creation of a unique culture molded by the Buddhist philosophy and based on self-sustainability. In the 1950´s, when military tension across the border between India, China and Pakistan started to rise rapidly, things began to change. Two roads were built, one connecting the Ladakh to the southern state of Himachal Pradesh, and the other heading east, towards the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In Leh, infrastructure was built in order to attend the large contingent of troops that arrived every day, and the Capital saw the construction of gas stations, workshops and markets. In 1974, civilians were allowed inside the city, although with limited access. The development that was intensified after the 1970´s has brought to the Ladakh not only infrastructure and industrial goods but also the idealized imagery of a western culture shaped around consumption. Leh is going through a process that has been experienced by many other cultures that were isolated and eventually started to receive outside influence. If contact with these outside influences start to undermine local traditions, a culture that has thrived for centuries will be in jeopardy. Nowdays, Ladackhis are been submited to the greatest challenge they have ever faced, a challenge much more severe than isolation or harsh weather: the test of modern times.
Reforestation - Rain Forest
Commissioned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
Reforestation Program (Brazil)
Lalibela: The New Jerusalem
Lalibela is best known for its monolithic churches, intimidating buildings carved from the red bedrock on which the city sits, joined by tunnels and still in use today by monks, priests, lay clergy, and not a few hermits. The 11 medieval churches hewn from solid, volcanic rock in the heart of Ethiopia were built on the orders of King Lalibela in the 12th century. Lalibela set out to construct a "New Jerusalem" in Africa after Muslims conquests halted Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
Even though Lalibela sits in a remote region of Ethiopia, the faithful will walk for days, even weeks, to get here, many of them traversing the rugged mountains barefoot. Amongst them, blind men and women and people with disabilities also join the pilgrimage, making their way along Lalibela's winding, hilly roads to reach the sacred site.
Ethiopia was one of the earliest nations to adopt Christianity in the first half of the fourth century, and its historical roots date to the time of the Apostles. The country only opened recently to international tourism. The political context of closure, recurrent famines, and wars impeded the emergence of any tourist activity around the different Ethiopian World Heritage sites during the 1980s and 1990s. In the past years, buses and Land Cruisers, carrying western tourists begin to arrive in Lalibela. Every year, around 40,000 international visitors travel to Lalibela to tour the site and its surroundings.
The Mud's Path
The tragedy related to the breaking of the dam at Brumadinho, which is responsible for almost 400 casualties, is also causing a disastrous environmental impact. Before pouring into the Três Marias dam and joining the São Francisco River, which supplies 18 million Brazilians in six states, the mud (mineral waste) coming from the ruptured dam administered by the mining company Vale, will cover 340 kilometers in Minas Gerais state, at an average speed of 800 meters per hour. With levels of mercury and lead 21 times higher than what is acceptable, along with the presence of other minerals, water must be avoided in all ways by the population along the banks of the Paraopeba river, pleads the Minas Gerais government.
I followed the mud’s path from the epicenter of the tragedy in Brumadinho to the mouth of the river, documenting the lives of the people affected. Along the way, I found an indigenous village, Vale railways, cities with their water supply interrupted, and a fearful population.
Sivaldo Tarrão, 55 years old, from the Pataxó people at the Naô Xohã village. Muddy waste from a ruptured dam at a mine in Brazil's southeast is reaching his indigenous community, contaminating its water and food supplies.
Rescue teams look for victims in Córrego do Feijão, Brumadinho, MG.
Córrego do Feijão, Brumadinho, MG.
Rescue helicopter carries the bodies of the victims in Brumadinho, MG.
Rescue teams look for victims in Córrego do Feijão, Brumadinho, MG.
Marcelo Alves de Oliveira, 46, worked in the mine where the dam broke. On the day of the tragedy, he decided to have lunch at the top of the dam. Marcelo lost dozens of friends who were having lunch in the mine’s cafeteria.
Jefferson Silva, 21, survived the complete destruction of the hotel where he worked. When he saw the mud coming, Jefferson ran up the hill with the mud behind him. The hotel owner, his relatives, guests, and some staff were unable to escape.
Rescue teams look for victims in Córrego do Feijão, Brumadinho, MG.
Railway bridge destroyed by mud flow, Brumadinho, MG.
Muddy waste from a ruptured dam at a mine in Brazil's southeast is reaching an indigenous community in the region, contaminating its water and food supplies.
Rosemeyre Aparecida Gomes, 29, Allan Frederic, 30, and their children Eduardo and Luana, residents of the city of Juatuba, observe the arrival of the the mud brought by the river Paraopeba from the tracks of the mining company Vale.
Luiz Cristino Dantas, 58, e Geraldo Otavio Rodrigues, 49, residents of the city of Juatuba, observe the arrival of the the mud brought by the river Paraopeba from the tracks of the mining company Vale.
Eudes Geraldo Alves, 50, examines the water of the Paraopeba River on his property with the arrival of Brumadinho’s mud in Córrego do Barro, MG. The region's water supply has been disrupted, and residents are worried about contamination of livestock.
Paraopeba river around São José de Varginha, about 80 miles from Brumadinho, MG.