This is my second travel to Ethiopia since 2008 and I went back, this time with my camera. Nothing has changed since then in one of the oldest nations in the world known as the cradle of mankind. Here Muslims and Christians and different ethnic groups (Oromo, Harari, Argobba, Somali and many others) share the same space. Harar, for some the fourth holy city of Islam, with its silent maze-like alleys, Dire Dawa and many small villages in between are the set of my project (here is only a selection). Light and colors, so vivid and intense, are the background I used to focus on my main subject: people, their emotions, their loneliness, their daily life, sometimes a harsh life but always peaceful. All the pictures are moments of pure and immediate reaction rather then a conscious plan, they are my response to the strong peaceful energy of Ethiopia.
A courtyard of a house in Dire Dawa. Of recent origin, Dire Dawa was built by the end of the 19th century during the construction of the railway that today connects the center of the country to Gibuti contributing to bring the country out of its centuries-old isolation from the rest of the world.
A small shop in the cobbled and narrow alley of Harar Jugol.
Girls in their school uniform covering their face. Harar city is a Muslim enclave in a predominantly Orthodox country, and it was closed to outsiders/Non Muslims for hundreds of years before it was integrated into Ethiopia in 1887 and before the explorer Sir Richard Burton entered it in 1855 . Only recently the number of foreigners is increasing and welcome.
A boy waiting to collect water for his family. The clean water supply coverage is improving but every day still a large number of families walks many miles to get some.
Early morning in a coffe bar. Harar is lauded for its naturally processed coffe that has been exported from long time worldwide. Arthur Rimbaud, one of the very few European ever to set foot in the city in 1880, was a coffe trader during his stay in the forbidden city.
Children gathered in the porch of a shop. Two boys with yellow jugs are to collect drinking water.
A man sleeping on the cobble-paved street during the sizzling afternoon heat.
A boy showing proudly one of his breeding pigeons. There have been improvements in access to primary schools but in rural areas enrolment and/or attendance remain low.
An oromo girl playing in an alley of the old city and a harari woman passing by. Here, different ethnic groups (Oromo, Harari, Somali, and many more) coexist with a high degree of religious respect. In 2002–03, Harar received the UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize for urban harmony.
A boy going to school in early morning. 368 are the alleys of the walled city and its almost five-metre-high walls were erected around the 16th century as a defensive response to the neighbouring Christian Ethiopian Empire. But today Muslims and Christians share the city in peace.