My Favourite Portraits From Ethiopia

Ethiopia has a lot of natural beauty - towering mountains, elaborate churches and jaw-dropping scenery. But its biggest asset are its people.
I don't want to dwell on external appearance, although as you're about to see Ethiopians are blessed with stunning faces and enviable bone structures. The important part is the strength they project through a simple smile though.

The lady pictured above was one of the first people whose portrait I shot on this entire trip. Her bright smile hides a lot of pain - she is one of the women benefitting from EWLA's legal services. Read all about their stories here.

I shot the two portraits above at Merkato in Addis Ababa, one of the biggest markets in all of Africa. It's the perfect place to visit if you're into people watching. If you hate crowds, however, you've been warned...

This little girl ran up to me while I was exploring Wenchi Crater Lake. She asked me to take a photo of her and I happily obliged. I mean, look at that adorable face! Seconds later she extended her hand and said: "Money!"
Although the lake isn't a tourist hotspot, the local children have already been taught that white skin equals riches. In these rural areas some of them realise they can make more money by begging and drop out of school as a result. If you're ever in this situation I recommend you don't give the children money regardless of sad the situation makes you.

This fearless mother is one of the leaders of her local community. While women still have significantly fewer rights than their male counterparts, her story was a great reminder that we don't have to let obstacles stand in our way. We can knock them over, jump over them or climb underneath - whatever it takes to make the path easier for future generations.

These beautiful siblings from the Kembatta region play a role in a wonderful story. Their mother is the first woman in the area to be married despite not undergoing the harmful practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Her wedding was quite the event, with thousands of people celebrating in the streets and coming together to witness this novel ceremony.
Since then hundreds of local uncut women have gone on to get married, as well as attend university or open their own businesses. You can read more about the organisation that made this possible - KMG Ethiopia - right here.

As I was compiling this post, I noticed that most of my portraits' subjects were women. I suppose it's not surprising - my online brand is called Girl vs Globe after all! But I must admit that the photo above is probably my favourite. The man's happiness really shines through!
He was one of the earliest beneficiaries of the Wash Programme, which brings clean water to communities in the region around Arsi Negelle. Instead of walking for hours every day, his family can now just turn on a tap in the garden.
This has given them a lot of spare time which they use for other economic activity. A simple water spout has literally given them a stream of new opportunities and a chance at a bright prosperous future.

Which portrait is your favourite? Let me know in a comment below.

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