Girl From Belgium ‘Escapes’ to Ethiopia to Spend a Week With the Surma Tribe

Photographer and Travel blogger Marisa Papen recently wanted to experience a new culture. Something radically different from her cosy life in the heart of Belgium. So along with photographer Jesse Walker, Marisa caught a plane to the Omo Valley in Ethiopia and spent a week living with the Surma Tribe.

Marisa tried to integrate herself with the Tribe as much as possible, adopting their culture and way of life as much as possible, including shaving her head.

As Marisa explained to artFido:

“Although we came from completely different places, we connected with each other. They recognized me and accepted me for who I was without prejudice. Tribal people are very distinct and self-sufficient, living of and with their land. They are not integrated into the ‘modern’ World, most tribes have never even been exposed to the ‘modern’ World. They also have their own beauty-standards… What we claim to call beautiful in our Western World isn’t quite the same how the Surma tribe pursues beauty. Both Surma-men and woman pierce their ears, some woman stretch their lower lip for a plate. They scar their bodies by making little cuts repetitively – isn’t it funny we invented all these cremes, lasers and all other treatments to get rid of ours…”

Photography by Jesse Walker and Marisa Papen

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