This is an extract from “A Journey amongst the water people” a 30’ documentary that I did in 2007 in Ethiopia, with Giuseppe Cederna as a co-author.
From bend to bend we climb up the Omo Valley, up to the banks where the Karo people live.
The village of Korcho, wrapped in the bend of the great river, is a wonderful place. From the top of the hill, as far as the eye can see, floats the grassy savannah and so do the faraway mountains of the Mago National Park.
Biwa is one of the eldest. His face looks like a mask carved in leather. Ritual scarifications. A big labret stud pierces his jaw. Biwa carries his story written all over his body. He speaks...we remain in silence, under the torrid heat of the afternoon sun.
We spend the whole day in Korcho, watching the water of the river, the trails left by crocodiles, the forest of the Bume people. Everything is still, calm, peaceful. The air is so hot, that it almost burns your neck. We struggle breathing. Then, women let us into their huts... they talk, they are relaxed.
Then, suddenly, something happens… something very serious. All of a sudden we are invisible, faraway, we no longer exist. Death has re-established distances