Baana Children – Ethiopia

The one-year-old girl on the left has the strength to ride on the back of her bigger sister–arms at the neck, legs clamped–for most of every day. The older girl is eating a stalk of sugar-filled sorghum.

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“They are guarding their god” – Achipawa IV

Brother Bulus Demena tried to build a church in the territory of the Achipawa and was driven out. He told Ofir, “They are guarding their chief called god. No one enters. He is their god…They will not let you in. Don’t go there.” Still, as is the custom in Nigeria, Brother Bulus welcomed Ofir to his house and surrounded him with enough pots of food to feed a family of five. On the wall behind Ofir is a Year 2000 Doomsday poster, which delineates those going to heaven and those not. People drinking in bars, playing soccer, and practicing karate are not going up.

“You will hear thunder” – Achipawa III

A year after beginning his search for Niyi Gbade, Ofir finally found the man in Lagos. Niyi was hesitant to share information about the Achipawa out of worry that Ofir would strengthen their local beliefs and thus strengthen their resistance to Christianity. Ofir pointed to his scars and said he’d nearly been killed trying to meet Niyi, and the man said only that the Achipawa were located between the Niger and Kebbi states. Armed with this information, Ofir returned to Leo’s hut in the bush, and after many days of walking they found an elder who had been to those states, a man who said, “If you reach the mountain of the Achipawa you will meet a man who when he speaks you will hear thunder.” The elder is pictured below with his homemade gun.

Zanzibar Ferry Disaster

In 2011, an overloaded ferry sank in the Zanzibar channel, killing hundreds of people, including scores of children. These two men were likely rescued by a dive shop boat, as the government’s response to the accident was minimal. The man holding the photograph was at Jaws Corner in Zanzibar, the social center of the opposition, and he was furious that the authorities that should have stop the boat from sailing had likely been bribed.

 

A Journey through Ethiopia III – Contemplation and the Reason for Journeys

Ofir with Konjo at camp, exposed on all sides. The large fire is to scare off hyenas and leopards. After what would happen over the coming days, Ofir would feel mentally prepared to enter a war zone for the first time.