From Cuba to Ethiopia: Travel Diaries by Pradeep Cholayil
Pradeep Cholayil ventures to Cuba and Ethiopia, capturing stills of his travels.
" People are inherently good. They're always willing to help. " says the photographer, when asked about what his experinces are like in different parts of the world.
Local cuban men smoking cigars.
(Left) Tobacco being harvested by a veguero (ﬁeld worker) who uses a small knife to harvest leaves, beginning with those closest to the
(Right) A worker smoking a cigarette while taking a break.
Farmers inspect secaderos several times each day to ensure proper interior temperature and humidity.
Each tobacco farmer has a family recipe for the fermentation process that involves adding ﬂavors such as guava, sugar cane, honey, rum,pineapple skins, and other ingredients.
Following the harvest, leaves are taken to tobacco houses called ‘Secaderos’ for drying
The drying and curing process takes about 50 days with leaves inside the secadero hung on wooden bars called ‘cuje’.
When Fidel Castro Cuba's late leader came to power in 1959, he put a ban on the import of all foreign vehicles, along with their parts. This left the country filled with vintage cars from the 50’s that are still being used to date.
The liberalizing of car sales was one of more than 300 reforms put forth by President Raul Castro, who took
over for his ailing brother Fidel in 2008.
The Cuban state maintains a monopoly on the retail sale of cars.
Two tourists riding in a ‘Coco-Taxi’, the cuban equivalent of an auto rickshaw.
The Hamer community of Ethiopia Africa, initiate their boys into manhood by making them jump across bulls. This three day long rite of
passage is quite important to the initiates and their families. The timing of the ceremony is determined by the man’s parents after the harvest.
With his head shaved, body rubbed with sand and dung, strips of tree bark strapped to his chest, the boy is readied by a group of men
known as the ‘Maza’.The initiate crosses over 15 castrated bulls that have been rubbed with dung to make their backs slippery. Failure
to successfully walk over the bulls brings shame to the initiate and his family. He would have to try again the following year. If he
succeeds, he is set to get married to a girl his family chooses for him, have children and cattle. The initiate must leap over the backs of
the bulls four times without fail. This day is considered the most important day in the life of a man.
15 bulls are put in lines together with their backs smeared with dung so that they are slippery, for the boy to jump over.
The more brutal part of the initiation process; the female relatives of the boy, including his mother and sisters, are flogged with canes to show their support. They beg the Mazas (the men that have undergone the bull leaping ritual) to flog them, until their backs are bloodied.The flogging is experienced without a sound.
(Left) The Karo excel in face and body painting, practiced in preparation of their dances and ceremonies, they decorate their bodies, often imitating the spotted plumage of a guinea fowl.
(Right) Two young girls from the Karo tribe pose for a picture. Karo women scarify their chests to beautify
themselves. Scars are cut with a knife and ash is rubbed to produce a raised welt.
(Left) Tribesman caught mid-dance.
(Right) A member of the Karo tribe holding an AK47, used to protect the tribe from threats. Being the smallest tribe in the area, they struggle with threats from nearby tribes that have more gun power, greater numbers and coalitions with one another.
When a young Mursi girl reaches the age of 15 or 16, her lower lip is pierced so she can wear a lip plate. The larger the lip
plate she can tolerate, the more cattle she will bring for her father when she becomes a bride. The unique “ornament” of the face which they use, is absolutely unusual, even for wild people. The lower lip of the girl is cut at an early age. They begin to put into the lip
the billets if wood, each time with a larger diameter.
Men of the Suri or Shuri tribe, covered head to toe in natural body paint.
Jinka’s famous Saturday market, is the largest in the region. It attracts a variety of ethnic groups including Ari, Banna, Mursi and sometimes Bashada.