Mar 24, 2013


I have a dear friend who is an amazing photographer and has traveled all over the world, 100 countries plus.  

A few months ago she shared pictures from a trip to Ethiopia where the group she traveled with had access to tribes that normally don't have much interaction with foreign visitors.  I don't know all the stories behind these photos, what tribes they are, what part of Ethiopia the tribes are located, Gail has all that information, one day I will update.  

I asked Gail if I could post a few of her pictures; these are some of the amazing collection. I will post a few more later this week. Thanks Gail for sharing the photos, I appreciate. 

What strikes me most about these photos, and especially when I saw all 300+ pictures is the humanity that is all over this earth that is foreign to most of us, the humanity only accessible if you're a long time subscriber of National Geographic or you happen to watch a special on a cable channel one late Sunday afternoon. There are people, humans, just like us in body, that have experiences of love, lost, triumph, hunger, pleasure, laughter, wonder, amazement, anger, warfare, all like what we know and experience, our respective stories written in different books, yet much them same.  

The photos remind me of my first visit to the Embera Drua tribe in Panama, who live mostly in the Darien Province, the section of Panama closest to the Colombian border.  We visited a small village of Embera Indians that relocated to an area of the banks of the Chagres River, we spent 1/2 a day with them.  

After the visit our travel group had a big debate about who is missing out on what: the Embera's because they have so little; access to only what they grow themselves and what they fish out of the river, or us, because we have so much that we fog our lives.

I challenged myself and my travel companions to consider and imagine, the Embera's will never have to call their cable company because of an outage, they won't ever consider the model of a refrigerator, side by side or standard, or the shape or color of their next sofa, Cherrios or Corn Flakes, Reeboks or Nikes, Pepsi or Coca Cola ? They never had to clean out their closets or delete old stuff on their DVR to make room for new shows. No Final Four or Nascar or Super Bowl..... 

A hammock beneath their simple straw bohio shelter worthy and durable 100 years ago and equally worthy and durable 100 years in the future. Their music, the constant flow of the Chagres River, sometimes joyful, sometimes quiet, sometimes so inviting they all swim and symphonies erupt. They told us about the song of crickets they enjoy and the show of lights at night; they have reserved front row seats to the heavens filled with bright, bright stars and Ticketmaster is never required. 

They day we were there, they asked us about our tennis shoes, they could not understand the laces and wanted to know if our feet where in pain, likewise they thought the buttons on our shirts were causing us great discomfort. We asked them if they visited the city, the answer was a resounding NO, they did not like the cement everything, streets, walls, buildings.  Anything enclosed, is foreign and uncomfortable to them.  

I've always wanted to go back and spend a few days with the Embera's Drua's. Those types of visits can be arranged, you sleep in a hammock and hang out with them, you eat fresh fruit and fresh caught Tilapia and plantains, fried, boiled, mashed up. 

The place we visited is about 1 hour from my brother's house in Panama City.  Once you get to the Chagres River, you have to go up river via dug out wooden canoe with an outboard motor, probably a 20 minute ride. 


The smile of children .....universal, I love the eyes of this child.  
This is a perfect picture. I would love to know the child's name and hear the song in her voice.  

This picture keeps me coming back again and again. There is so much detail, so much to see, so much to question, imagine, wonder.  I told Gail, many of her pictures are photographic poems.  An instant is captured, an instant that then invites the viewer or the reader to bring their own experience, their own feelings, and emotions. 

Someone asked where to they get the beads ? 
How do they make the jewelry ?  
The detail is this photo goes on and on and on .... 

The look in the eyes of this child, she is asking herself: who are those people, 
the ones with the black objects pointing at me, why do they look different, 
what are they doing, are they coming closer, should I keep walking ? 
Should I be afraid ? Will they be friendly ? 

Fetching water, today, tomorrow, always necessary, a learned practice from the time the infant body of a girl is strong enough to carry the drum of water on her back, or the pail or basin of water on her head.