July 13, 2024
Far Flung
Surviving Famine

The life a photographer discovered, a generation later

By Mike Rynearson

In January 1985, I covered a severe drought and famine in Ethiopia, for a major U.S. newspaper. The images then were of diseased, starving and dying people. Twenty four years later, I revisited some of the affected areas, to see how they?d subsequently fared.

A villager shoulders an old rifle as he walks along a remote road in the highlands of the Amhara region of northwestern Ethiopia. Many men in this area carry old weaponry. It’s unclear if the guns are status symbols and for show, or if they are used for protection from wildlife or bandits.

A villager paddles a handcrafted, papyrus reed canoe across northern Lake T’ana, the source of the Blue Nile River, in the Amhara Region.

A mountain village in an Amhara valley

A village family in the Sidamo region fills a bowl with grain from an old storage sack that had been saved in the village granary from a previous harvest. This area is home to more than 40 different Sidama sub-tribes, who rely mostly on cattle raising and subsistence farming in this harsh and barren land.

Villagers in the Sidamo region drive cattle to water and to grazing.

A girl in Sidamo tends to cattle along a creek.

Women in Sidamo carry battered cans filled with water back to their villages, after making the trek to the river - the only water source in the area.

A girl in Sidamo carries her little brother

A native craftswomen in Sidamo displays her hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns in her stall at a Saturday market.

Village boys in Sidamo show off sunglasses they picked up at the market.

Sunset in southwestern Ethiopia.

Mike Rynearson, an award-winning former staff photographer and deputy director of photography for the Arizona Republic, is a partner in the photojournalism company Quest Imagery.

One comment about “Surviving Famine”

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