Melaka Tsehai burns the oil off of an addition of nug (an oilseed) to the carbonized grains, leaves, and earths that serve as the base for black ink. Various implments of the scribe’s crafts are on the ground beside him. Also, lest any one accuse me of having done the opposite–I have actually *de*-saturated his spectacular neon orange hat. A truly one-of-a-kind hat.
Ashmelas WoldeGabriel at Work, Axum, Tigray, Ethiopia, 2009
Hermit, Festival of Maryam Tsion, Axum, Ethiopia, 2009
Nun, Festival of Maryam Tsion, Axum, Ethiopia, 2009
Yänäta Zewchoas, Axum, Ethiopia, 2009
Zewchoas is one of the chief instructors at the St. Yared Theological Academy in Axum, and has a reputation as a däbtära, a magician (he is also properly a däbtära in its original sense of liturgical specialist). A dwarf, he was picked upon, and learned magic in order to gain respect, notably a method for causing people to fart in public, which is considered extraordinarily rude in Ethiopia.
Having achieved his aim, he later gave up the magician’s craft and focused more on his teaching work. He may often be found behind the school, leading students in the recitation and memorization of liturgical songs, and is a thoroughly respected member of his community, having overcome the prejudice traditionally associated with dwarfism.
He is photographed sitting on a throne on top of the stairs in front of the old Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion (Maryam Tsion).
Scribe, Book Market, Axum, 2009
Flag-Bearers, Axum, Ethiopia, 2009
Abuna Paulos, Axum, Ethiopia, 2009
Baskets and Dye, Axum, Tigray, Ethiopia, November 2009
The basket market, under a large tree in the centre of town.
The dye sellers measure out dyes for baskets, under a different large tree near the ‘old town.’
Women bring their brightly-colored handwoven injera baskets to the market at the center of town for the market attached to the festival of Maryam Tsion (St. Mary of Zion) in Axum, Ethiopia. The basket serves as both table and covering for meals, and is a prominent feature of many living rooms.