The wooded Omo Valley, flanked by semi-desert, winds through southern Ethiopia on its way to the river's outlet in Lake Turkana, the largest lake in the area. In the Omo Valley live a handful of small groups of people – karo, mursi, hammer, daasanach – and they feed on animal husbandry, agriculture and fishing. They would not have been there without the river, which leaves a nutritious sludge when it is rainy season in the highlands and it floods.
Those who make a living by the River Omo, the protagonists of Fausto Padovini's book Omo Change, has basically nothing to do with Ethiopia, and Ethiopia has little interest in them. They were incorporated into the state under Emperor Menelik II in the late 1800s, when the state's area grew enormously due to the conquest of Ogaden and Oromia. Overnight, millions of Somalis and Oromos became Ethiopian subjects. Classical Ethiopia, known from the legend of King Solomon's mines. . .
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