Stories

Bull jumping at the Hamer tribe

The Bull Jumping is an ancient tradition among the Hamer people that still goes on today. It is a rite of passage, a ritual that boys must go through to be able to marry (become Maza). The boy have to jump and run over a line of 7-10 bulls four times without falling. During the ceremony the women of the tribe is drinking and dancing. In their dance they provoke the Maza men to whip them. The ability to deal with pain is essiential for people living in this harsh environment. By letting themselves be whipped to women show strength and devotion. NGOs working with the tribe have tried to stop this part of the tradition, but it still takes place.

 

The Mount Hagen Show

Mount Hagen is the capital of the highlands in Papua New Guinea. The highland is a region with strong tribal culture and were “discovered” by some australians as late as in the 1930. The australians seeking for gold, were surprised to find 1 million people living in a complex network of tribes. The highlands of Papua New Guinea are still troubled by lawlessness and intertribal warfare.  The situation has become more violent in some areas as former weapons of bows and arrows are replaced with machine guns. International mining companies fuel conflicts over land and the introduction of Christianity has led to killing of women blamed for being witches.

The highlands festivals were created in the 1960s by missionaries with the intention to create peace and unity. The festivals celebrates the diversity between the tribes. The tribes express their culture through dancing and singing (called a sing-sing) and there are no winners in this diverse and colorful event. 

Saharawi Refugees

Isolated in the unforgiving Sahara desert lives 165,000 Saharawi refugees. They are waiting for the UN implements what they have promised for 24 years; a referendum on independence for Western Sahara now occupied by Morroco. The day temperature can be over 50 degrees from May to September. MINURSO, the UN peacekeeping force in Western Sahara, is the only UN operation that can not report on human rights violations. Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have documented systematic violations against the Saharawi people in the occupied territories. If they express their opinion they can be subjected to detention, torture, abuse, rape, disappearances and killings by security police. France, which is Morocco's close allies, is in the UN preventing an extension of MINURSO's mandate to report on violations of human rights and prevents pressure on conducting referendum. In the refugee camps, people have been waiting for 40 years and is abandoned by the international community.

Vodun in Benin

Most people associate Voodoo with the practice of cursing people through sticking pins in dolls and evil sorcery. In the time of slavery the Catholic Church portrayed the slaves’ traditional religion (known as Vodun) as evil in their attempt to convert them to Christianity. This image of Voodoo also made its way into the horror movies in Hollywood and has contributed to prejudice and misrepresent of the religion of Vodun. Vodun is actually the world’s oldest known religion. It goes back to the dawn of civilization in Africa, and is today practiced by more than 60 million people worldwide.

Vodun is an official religion of the small country of Benin in West Africa, and an estimated 60 percent of the population reportedly follows it. The name comes from the god Vodun used by the Yoruba people that lived in the kingdom of Dahomey (todays Togo, Benin and Nigeria). The West African religion spread and took many new forms (Candomblé, Umbanda, Macumba) in the new world. The people who practice Vodun define it as positive magic. In a Vodun ritual the priest or priestess communicate with the world of spirits. The spirits can give guidance, protection or good heath to those seeking it.

Slums of Nairobi

Today, the world is undergoing the largest wave of urbanization in history. In 2012 there were more people living in towns and cities then in the countryside. In 2030 there will be approximately 5 billion people living in urban areas. This process is happening mainly in Africa and Asia, and is bringing huge transformations. Nairobi is the fasting growing of any city in Africa with a population of about 6 million and 60 percent lives in the slums. For many people the city represent a world of new opportunities, but most people move into slums with extreme poverty, crime and lack of infrastructure. The photos are taken in the slums of Soweto and Mathare. The exact number of population that lives in these slums is unknown, but several hundred thousand lives in these overcrowded slums in conditions beyond imagination. No running water, no electricity and no proper sanition. Most people live on under one dollar per day. If you are interested in supporting youths in the Mathare slum, check out www.matharefoundation.org that are doing an amazing work here. With few options many young people get invoved in crime, drug abuse and prostition. Help to give them a better future!