Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Categories: Africa | Nations

More is better. This is exactly what the people of the Bodi, or Me'en, people think.

A tribe living in a remote region of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia practices an unusual ritual in which young people drink milk with cow's blood to become as fat as possible. They live in isolation for six months, and then they come out of their huts to proudly demonstrate their bloated belly and compete with others for the right to be called the fattest inhabitant of the village. The winner will be considered a hero for the rest of his life.

French photographer Eric Lafforgue decided to tell the rest of the world about this ritual.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Southern Ethiopia. Omo River Valley. UNESCO World Heritage Site. The territory, which was not touched by civilization until recently, is now crossed by roads. Warriors of indigenous tribes come out with sticks instead of machine guns to defend the right to live on the land of their fathers. "Leave us and our cows alone," they say.

It all started a few years ago with the construction of a cascade of dams on the Omo River. One of the hydroelectric power plants under construction — Gibe III — should become the largest in Africa, double the energy potential of Ethiopia, and also bring considerable income to the state treasury. Part of the fields that for centuries belonged to local tribes - Bodi, Mursi, Suri, Dasanech, Hamer, Karo and others, will be flooded, the other part will dry up. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, human rights and environmental organizations around the world oppose the launch of a power plant that threatens to destroy the ecosystem in the lower reaches of the Omo River, lead to climate change and the lifestyle of 200,000 indigenous people.

They are different from ordinary Ethiopians. The city considers them savages, because members of the tribes still disfigure their skin with scars, smear their bodies with clay, insert discs into the lip, removing the front teeth. They maintain the tradition of blood feud, their boys become real men only after killing the enemy. Their men, naked, fight with rare cruelty on long poles. They buy wives for 25 cows and a Kalashnikov assault rifle…

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Preparing for the celebration of the New Year in June, the men of the Bodi tribe drink a lot of cow's blood and milk to get fat.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Each family can put up one unmarried candidate for the traditional competition. The fattest becomes the winner and wins the recognition of the tribe for a year.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

The competition for the fattest resident of the tribe begins six months before the ceremony.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Each family can imagine an unmarried man who, after selection, returns to his hut and does not have to leave there or have sex for six months.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Women from the village regularly bring a mixture of cow's milk and cow's blood to the participants of the competition — this is their food.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Cows are sacred to the Bodi tribe, so they are not usually killed.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Blood from cows is taken through a small hole in the vein, which is made with a spear or an axe, and then covered with clay.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Because of the searing heat, men should drink a 2-liter bowl of blood with milk as quickly as possible before the blood clots. But, as you know, not everyone can do it.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Men drink blood with milk all day.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

The first bowl is drunk at dawn.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Flies are flying everywhere.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Not all participants can swallow milk with blood so quickly. Many people feel sick.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

On the day of the contest, the men smear themselves with clay and ashes, then leave the huts and go to the place where the ceremony will take place.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Because of the weight gained and the immobile lifestyle, it turns out to be an almost impossible task for many to overcome such a short distance.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Many simply cannot walk.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

One of them even asked the photographer to take him by car, and in the van he continued to drink blood with milk.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

The ceremony itself consists of fat men walking around the sacred tree for hours. The rest of the men are watching them closely, and the women are giving them alcohol and wiping their sweat.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

As soon as the fattest man is chosen, the ceremony ends with the killing of a cow with the help of a huge sacred stone.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

The village elders then examine her stomach and blood to determine if there will be a bright future or not.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

After the ceremony, the men's lives return to normal. Most of them soon lose their bellies.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

But after a few weeks, the next generation of "contestants" is selected to participate in a new ritual.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Becoming the fattest in the village is the dream of every child from the Bodi tribe.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

A few weeks after the ceremony, the winner returns to normal, but remains a hero for the rest of his life.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

Women look at this ritual as an opportunity to choose a potential husband.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

In the bodie tribe, fat means beautiful.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

But today the traditions and customs of the Bodi tribe are in danger.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

A woman from the Bodi tribe from the remote village of Khan Mursi.

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

For women, the ceremony of choosing the fattest inhabitant of the village is not only an occasion to find a potential groom…

Men of the Ethiopian tribe drink blood with milk to get the title of the fattest inhabitant of the village

...but also a reason to show off in your best outfits.

Keywords: 18+ | Valley | Competition | Blood | Milk | Omo | Tribe | Ritual | Traditions | Photographer | Ethiopia

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