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Mursi Lip Stretchers

This photo pretty much speaks for itself. While researching the Lonely Planet guide for Ethiopia I went to Omo Valley and met their most famous tribe – the Mursi. While it may appear as freaky as hell to us, it is apparently a thing of beauty to the local men folk. Unfortunately the whole thing has become something of a spectacle with tourists arriving by the jeep load (despite its remote location) and the Mursi’s increasing desire for the money they command for being photographed.

And if you think this looks uncomfortable, wait till you see what their lips look when the disc is removed. What I discovered is that lips, aren’t just soft bits of skin that are nice to kiss, they actually have a purpose. lips, you see, keep your food, saliva and anything else you might have popped in your mouth actually in your mouth. Once these discs are removed the Mursi women have a terrible time keeping from dribbling all over their chin. Usually they press their front top teeth down over the place where their lip once was and suck in the spit.

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Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Top Tip
The Mursi people are aggressive - maybe for good reason - but be gone by noon after which some men may be drunk and violent.
Written by Dean
Photography by Dean