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Ethiopia: Ancestral faces and sacred ...
Addis Ababa, Gondar, Lalibela, Jinka
By Rodrigo Jardon
07 Aug 2018

Ethiopia: Ancestral Faces and Sacred Places is a photographic journey through one of the most complex nations in the world and the only one never conquered in Africa. With a range of ethnic groups, religions, languages and architecture that borders on schizophrenia, these images take us through the villages of the semi-nomadic tribes that inhabit the Lower Valley of the Omo, the Christian churches dug in stone in the city of Lalibela, the medieval castles and temples of Gondar, the chaotic capital Addis Ababa and the walled Islamic city of Harar, closed to the western world until the 19th century.

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I'm Africa
Prov. du Katanga
By Gabriele Orlini
08 Sep 2017

You are confusing the circulatory system with this maze of meandering, twisted like cells of the brain – wire meshes and tangles, resemble memory – each with a story to hide or to be dissolved, there just behind a gauze suspended between the face and the hanging ceiling, hanging between the faces and walls.
You do not know if they are roots or hair those that sink in water, and in the sky – in the sky from where the water is more than any imagined Africa.

The sky of thick foliage, of dry logs as your crosses and you do not know if they are branches or knots of hair braiding those who see blacks under the smoky clouds. There are more signs on the ground and more signs on the water that on the blackboard, which does not pass the history of your steps, but one of the steps of foreigners on your land.

A whirlpool in the lazy river as you sleep. A run in the tall grass, cutting edges. A jump and a heavy bag on your head, the water reflects other water and the tree grows from your shoulders, soon broken up by life that your father has left the crooked stick.

This is a Story
As every story, it’s made by Moments, Instants, People, Places.
Different but indissolubly tied together by invisible and indivisible light threads.
It’s not a tale of Africa but it’s a story of Men, or of a single Man.
It’s the tale of a centuries-old Tree with its roots - the wrinkled and strong arms of an old lady- searching for life in the depths of the river.
It’s the story of a Woman who stretches the same roots to the sky as if to contrast a law of nature.

In Africa there’s nothing that doesn’t come into being from the earth and nothing that’s not raised towards the sky that dominates everything.
It’s the tale of a River that flows for thousands of years in a land that’s fighting for his identity for a thousands of years.
It’s the same River that carries along life and death, the end and the beginning. 
A River able to nurture, a River able to kill.

It’s the tale of many Men leaving in search of something that doesn’t have a name yet.

It’s the tale of a Color in which all the colors are alike, the story of an escape towards places so far away, drawn in a map by Red Soil and where all the paths come together.

It’s the tale of a Red Soil that stains your feet and goes inside you
It goes deep into your blood and fires it up.

And it’s useless to wash your body in the river at the end of the day: the Red Soil has left a mark on everything you have and everything you are. 
It’s the tale of a Disease without a cure.
It’s the tale of a Rain that comes from the silence of a blue sky and with a din fills the buckets of the village.
It’s the tale of many other Tales.
It's the story of those who live and consume that Land.
It’s the story of who has being worn out by that Land.
And it’s also the tale of a Mondele, a White Man.
A tale of the moment in which he asked to himself: “What if I was born here?
And then he understood the only possible answer: “I am Africa”.

 

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TALPAPRIL2017-32
London
By Tom Price
23 Mar 2017

Still photography selection from various assignments and projects.

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TALPAPRIL2017-33
London
By Tom Price
23 Mar 2017

Still photography selection from various assignments and projects.

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TALPAPRIL2017-31
London
By Tom Price
22 Mar 2017

Still photography selection from various assignments and projects.

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Amot Ogol
London
By Tom Price
20 Mar 2017

Amot, 19, travelled to Juba by walking barefoot ANDREW HAS STORY ON TAPE

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TALPAPRIL2017-29
London
By Tom Price
18 Mar 2017

Still photography selection from various assignments and projects.

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TALPAPRIL2017-24
London
By Tom Price
20 Oct 2016

Loveness Gunda, 6.

Chagunda village.

Salima district, Malawi.

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TALPAPRIL2017-25
London
By Tom Price
20 Oct 2016

Vincent Manda, 10.

Chagunda village.

Salima district, Malawi.

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Dripping Gold: On the Hunt for Honey ...
Marigat
By Berta Tilmantaite
05 Mar 2016

“This is my bank” says 53-year-old Agnes Cheptepkeny and motions towards her small tin house where two of the rooms from floor to ceiling are filled with bucketfuls of honey. “When I have money, I buy honey. This is how I save up. And when I need cash, I can sell a bucket or two” tells A. Cheptepkeny, whose one bucket of honey is worth around 80 Euros.

This woman lives in a town of Marigat, located in the Rift valley, Baringo County. This place is a home for people of Tugen, Ilchamus, and Pokot tribes which are known for their beekeeping and good quality honey. A. Cheptepkeny is from Tugen tribe and has been selling honey for quite some time.

Kenya is not very famous for its honey. Ethiopia and Tanzania are places where the biggest amount of this liquid gold is being collected. On the other hand, Kenya’s nature is the same as in the previously stated countries, so there is definitely a potential for successful beekeeping and honey export, although slow adaptation of new technologies, lack of knowledge, small interest of younger generations, parasites and pesticides used in agriculture, climate change, an unorganized market, and undeveloped infrastructure are the main issues that encumber this activity.

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My Grandma Wore Tattoos: A Trip to th...
Lalibela
By Lola García-Ajofrín
12 Feb 2016

The Christian elder women from the village of Lalibela, in Ethiopia, do their tattoos along their necks and faces, mixing aesthetics, tradition and faith in a practice that goes back for centuries. "Because of the mixture of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, indigenous religions and traditions, Ethiopia has a great variety of modifications of the body and body decoration practices, including scarification and tattooing," says anthropologist Margo DeMello, in the book "Tinting: tattoos and body art around the world, "which argues that Coptic Christians sport tattoos since ancient times in Egypt and Ethiopia. It is also the case of Ethiopian Jews living in soil, which is tattooed to blend and "to move to Israel in the 80s and 90s, they are had to delete, since Judaism forbids", DeMello tells.

In one of the few Tattoo studios in Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia, Zelanem, a young designers says "even my grandma wore one".

(AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH AND FRENCH UPON REQUEST)

Las ancianas cristianas de la ciudad santa de Lalibela, en Etiopía, lucen tatuajes en cuello y rosto, en una mezcla de estética, tradición y fe. Hacemos repaso de los hallazgos más remotos de esta práctica con al menos 5.000 años

Zelalem tatúa crucifijos y vírgenes María, bajo la luz de un flexo en “Zola Tattoo”, uno de los pocos estudios de tatuajes de Addis Abeba, la capital de Etiopía. Bromea con su nombre encaja a la perfección con su trabajo. Zelalem significa “siempre”.

En un marco, en la pared de su estudio, cuelgan fotografías de sus últimas creaciones con la aguja: una corona de espinas sobre un Cristo afligido tiñe un hombro; unas manos con un rosario adornan un brazo; hay espaldas decoradas con crucifijos y torsos con ángeles y santos. “Todos me piden motivos religiosos o cosas sobre sus madres”, admite, sonriente. De vez en cuando, los hay que llegan con diseños de famosos que encuentran en internet, “sobre todo, los del rapero Rick Ross”, matiza sonriente. Nuevas formas de ejercer viejas prácticas.

Abuelas con tatuajes

En Etiopía, los cristianas ortodoxos han teñido sus manos y rostros con pequeños crucifijos, durante generaciones. La abuela de Zola lucía un tatuaje en la cara. Era un cruz hecha a mano, en negro azulado, que destacaba tímidamente sobre su piel tostada. Un símbolo de su enorme fe y un poco de coquetería, admite.

Aunque los tatuajes llenan los bancos de las iglesia etíopes, apenas existen ofertas profesionales para tatuarse: “No se pueden conseguir ni materiales; a mí me los envía mi hermano que está en Italia”, explica el dibujante. Y la mayoría sigue tatuándose en casa, de la forma tradicional. En Etiopía, el tatuaje es algo más que una moda.

“Debido a la mezcla de Cristianismo, Islam, religiones indígenas y tradiciones, Etiopía tiene una gran variedad de modificaciones del cuerpo y practicas de decoración corporales, incluida la escarificación y tatuaje”, explica la antropóloga Margo DeMello, en el libro “Tintado: tatuajes y arte corporal alrededor del mundo”, donde argumenta que los cristianos coptos lucen tatuajes desde tiempos inmemorables en Egipto y Etiopía. También es el caso de los judíos que residían en suelo etíope, que se tatuaron para mimetizarse y, “al mudarse a Israel, en los 80 y 90, se los tuvieron que borrar, puesto que el Judaísmo lo prohíbe”, narra DeMello.

En Lalibela, la segunda ciudad Santa de Etiopía, es casi imposible no cruzarse con ancianas con tatuajes en cuello y rosto. Suelen llevar la cruz copta dibujada, casi siempre en frente o mejilla. En la iglesia de San Jorge, a la salida de misa, tres simpáticas señoras ataviadas de blanco, que pasan el rato al sol, comentan divertidas que ellas llevan tatuajes “desde hace muchos años”. Un turista, de veintitantos, cámara al cuello, posa frente a la impresionante iglesia escavada y presume de cruz copta en el brazo, bajo la manga corta.

Tatuajes cristianos

Existen varias teorías que explican esta vetusta moda. Desde que el cristianismo llegara a la región, “los cristianos ortodoxos de Egipto, Etiopía y Eritrea, empezaron a llevar tatuajes coptos para demostrar su fe, tales como cruces en la frente”, narra DeMello. En Egipto, “los coptos se han sentido como una minoría reprimida –se cree que representan alrededor del 10% de la población del país— y sus tatuajes pueden servir como forma de identidad comunal en un país que tiene una historia de fricción sectaria”, argumenta Theodore May, en el ‘Global Post’.

Para Jennifer A. Johnson, que escribe al respecto en la web ‘Christianity Today’, aunque en el antiguo Egipto la práctica del tatuaje se remonta a 2.000 años antes de Cristo, ya en el Imperio Romano, era una práctica degradante utilizada como marca para esclavos y criminales. Y es en el siglo VII, con la llegada del Islam a Egipto “y al convertirse los cristianos en minoría perseguida, cuando la práctica copta del tatuaje emerge”. Cita al estudioso copto Otto Meinardus: “En tiempos de persecución, el tatuaje de la cruz ha dado fuerza a los fieles y ha hecho que sea imposible para ellos negar su fe.”

De un modo u otro, los pueblos de distintas partes del mundo han utilizado sus cuerpos como lienzos desde el Neolítico. “Se cree que la palabra ‘tatuaje’ se originó en la Polinesia y procede del término ‘tatau’ que significa ‘marcar”, explica Sharon Guynup, en ‘National Geographic’.

5.000 años de tatuajes

El primer tatuaje del mundo del que se tiene constancia es de hace 5.000 años y se encontró en Europa. En 1991, dos alpinistas alemanes, el matrimonio Simon, disfrutaban de una jornada deporte en los Alpes, en la frontera entre Austria e Italia, cuando se toparon con un cadáver. El cuerpo se conservaba en tan buen estado que pensaron que era reciente. La investigación determinó que correspondía al de un hombre que vivió entorno al 3.300 a. C.

Debido a su excelente conservación, el hallazgo permitió a los investigadores saber más sobre los europeos de la Edad de Cobre. Determinaron cómo vestía e incluso la última comida que ingirió aquel hombre: ciervo, salvado de trigo, raíces y fruta. Pero uno de las hechos más llamativos que revelaron los Rayos X es que Otzi o el Hombre de Hielo, como después se le denominó, lucía tatuajes. En concreto, 57 rayas paralelas repartidas por muñeca, espalda y piernas. Su cuerpo se conserva a 6º en el Museo de Arqueología del Tirol del Sur, en Italia. No es la única momia tatuada.

Momias con tatuajes, en Egipto, Perú o Siberia

Hasta que se descubrió el cuerpo de Otzi, que supone la piel tatuada más antigua del mundo, las evidencias de tatuajes más remotas se situaban en Egipto. La momia de Amunet, el cuerpo de una sacerdotisa que vivió en torno al 2.000 a.C., era, hasta entonces, la momia con tatuajes más antigua. Su cuerpo lucía líneas y puntos tatuados, alrededor de manos y brazos, como si fueran pulseras. En Egipto se han encontrado otros cuerpos decorados, todos de mujeres, varios en el abdomen, por lo que se cree que simbolizaba la fertilidad.

También conocían el arte del tatuaje los pueblos nómadas escitas de Irán y del Cáucaso. En 1993, en los montes Altái de Siberia, en Rusia, se halló la momia de la Princesa de Ukok, que vivió durante el siglo V a.C. Presentaba tatuajes en forma de animales por todo el brazo. Gracias al hielo y la altitud, habían sobrevivido casi intactos durante 2.500 años. Cerca de su cuerpo se encontraron enterrados seis caballos y otros dos hombres, también con tatuajes.

Y en 2006, se encontró una momia tatuada en Perú, en la provincia de Trujillo. Correspondía al cuerpo de la Dama de Cao, la única mujer dirigente que se conoce que tuvo el antiguo Perú. Lucía figuras de arañas, serpientes y caballitos de mar, tatuados en manos, pies y brazos.

Paradójicamente, se cree que fue con la llegada de los cristianos europeos a otras tierras cuando la práctica del tatuaje decayó. Lo que para unos era un símbolo de fe, para otros se consideró pagano.

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Ethiopia women tattoos 03
Lalibela
By Lola García-Ajofrín
10 Dec 2015

In Lalibela, Christians display tattoos, following a mix of tradition, faith and aesthetics. This practice started centuries ago.

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Ethiopia women tattoos 01
Lalibela
By Lola García-Ajofrín
06 Dec 2015

When this Ethiopian Christian woman in her late seventies, who prefer doesn't says here name, was a young girl, she inked her neck "like a sign of faith and to become beautiful", she explains with a big smile. "My friends did also". In Holy City Lalibela, in Ethiopia, many of the all women wear Christian Tattoos. She arrives with two friends, three women also in her seventies who also wear tattoos. One of them a black cross on the forehead. They were on white because the morning mass in the astonishing St. George's Church has just finished and they have been sitting in the sun for a chat. In Lalibela, Ethiopia, Christians wear tattoos as a tradition that started centuries ago. It is not a new trend. The world's first tattoo on record is 5,000 years ago and it was found in Europe.

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Ethiopia women tattoos 02
Lalibela
By Lola García-Ajofrín
06 Dec 2015

In Lalibela, Christian eld women have their necks and faces covered with tattoos, a practice from centuries ago. But Islam, Jewish and other indigenous faiths contributed to a variety of tattoo traditions. When they were young girls, they inked her neck "like a sign of faith and to become beautiful". In Holy City Lalibela, in Ethiopia, many of the all women wear Christian Tattoos. They were on white because the morning mass in the astonishing St. George's Church has just finished and they have been sitting in the sun for a chat. In Lalibela, Ethiopia, Christians wear tattoos as a tradition that started centuries ago. It is not a new trend. The world's first tattoo on record is 5,000 years ago and it was found in Europe.

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Ethiopia women tattoos 04
Lalibela
By Lola García-Ajofrín
06 Dec 2015

In Lalibela, Christians display tattoos, following a mix of tradition, faith and aesthetics of a practice from centuries ago.

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Ethiopia women tattoos 06
Lalibela
By Lola García-Ajofrín
28 Nov 2015

A young man in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia with Christian symbols tattoos.

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Ethiopia women tattoos 05
Lalibela
By Lola García-Ajofrín
13 Nov 2015

Designer Zelalem in Zola Tattoo, in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. His name, Zelalem, in Amaric means "Always". He says it fits with his job: "Tattoos are forever". In Zola Tattoo, one of the few tattoo studios in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, most of the clients ask Christian tattoos. Some pictures of their latest creations are on the wall: a crown of thorns on an afflicted Christ stains a shoulder; a pair of hands with a rosary adorning an arm. In Ethiopia Christian have inked their skin during centuries. "My grandma had a tattoo", Zelalem says. But it was a traditional tattoo made at home. Even today most of the people don't wear professional tattoos. Zelalem tells "It's imposible to find the materials. In my case my brother who lives in Italy send them".In Zola Tattoo, one of the few tattoo studios in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, most of the clients ask Christian tattoos. Some pictures of their latest creations are on the wall: a crown of thorns on an afflicted Christ stains a shoulder; a pair of hands with a rosary adorning an arm. In Ethiopia Christian have inked their skin during centuries. "My grandma had a tattoo", Zelalem says. But it was a traditional tattoo made at home. Even today most of the people don't wear professional tattoos. Zelalem tells "It's imposible to find the materials. In my case my brother who lives in Italy send them".

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Kisumu
By Berta Tilmantaite
30 Oct 2015

Behind the scenes photo while working on a story about Lake Victoria, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 13
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
28 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41) together with his wife is working as a shoemaker in Marigat town Kenya. When bee hives are full, he also goes to harvest honey and sell it to add to family's budget.

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Honey in Kenya 14
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
28 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) in her room, fully stacked with buckets of honey.

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Honey in Kenya 15
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
28 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) is calling a motorbike driver, to come to her house and help to take a bucket of honey to the market.

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Kisumu
By Berta Tilmantaite
28 Oct 2015

Behind the scenes photo while working on a story about beekeeping in Kenya.

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Kisumu
By Berta Tilmantaite
28 Oct 2015

Behind the scenes photo while working on a story about beekeeping in Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 01
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41) is firing up a bunch of sticks that he is later going to use to smoke the bees away from the beehive in Marigat, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 02
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41) is harvesting the honey from his beehive hanging high up in the tree in Marigat, Kenya.

People produce honey for consumption, because it's high in energy. It is also used as sweetener and as a medicine. The honey and the beeswax is also sold to earn some extra money. In some places it is still used to pay dowries for the bride.

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Honey in Kenya 08
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41) prepares to climb a tree with a bucket and fire to harvest honey in Marigat, Kenya.

"This year a lot of beehives are empty because of the draught," says Philip. He works as a shoemaker in the town, but also has a few beehives and harvests honey to add some money to the family budget.

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Honey in Kenya 03
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41), Joseph Kipkoshoni (70) and Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) are checking freshly harvested honey combs in Marigat, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 04
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41) and Joseph Kipkoshoni (70) are walking around the trees and checking their beehives in Marigat, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 05
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) and her son are processing the honey in Marigat market, Kenya.

"This is my bank," says Agnes, pointing to honey buckets. Anytime she has cash, she buys honey, processes it and sells to make a living.

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Honey in Kenya 06
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Honey is processed in Marigat market, Kenya. Marigat is a fast-growing town located in the Rift Valley, Baringo County. This area is home to the Tugen, Njemps and Pokot communities, famous for their honey.

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Honey in Kenya 07
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) waits for customers by her honey kiosk in Marigat market, Kenya. Agnes makes her living from honey and even started a certification process. Once her product is tested and confirmed to meet quality standards, she can label her honey jars and start to distribute it to markets and export it to other countries.

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Honey in Kenya 09
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) is trying a freshly harvested honey, that Philip Kipyertor (41) and Joseph Kipkoshoni (70) brought to her in Marigat market, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 10
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53), Philip Kipyertor (41) and Joseph Kipkoshoni (70) taste a freshly harvested honey in Marigat market, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 11
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Marigat town and market along the road, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 12
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

An old traditional log bee hive in the garden where Philip Kipyertor (41) and Joseph Kipkoshoni (70) go to harvest honey.

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PHOTOS: Rome Refugee Center Struggles...
Rome, Italy
By Davide Bosco
23 Jun 2015

In recent weeks Italy has faced an emergency situation as wave after wave of immigrants arrive to already-overburdened centers for refugees and asylum-seekers. In Rome, the area around Tiburtina has become temporary home to many immigrants who turn to the Baobab center for clothes, food and assistance.

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Refugees in Rome 09
Rome, Italy
By Davide Bosco
21 Jun 2015

In recent weeks Italy has faced an emergency situation as wave after wave of immigrants arrive to already-overburdened centers for refugees and asylum-seekers. In Rome, the area around Tiburtina has become temporary home to many immigrants who turn to the Baobab center for clothes, food and assistance.

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Refugees in Rome 10
Rome, Italy
By Davide Bosco
21 Jun 2015

In recent weeks Italy has faced an emergency situation as wave after wave of immigrants arrive to already-overburdened centers for refugees and asylum-seekers. In Rome, the area around Tiburtina has become temporary home to many immigrants who turn to the Baobab center for clothes, food and assistance.

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Refugees in Rome 11
Rome, Italy
By Davide Bosco
21 Jun 2015

In recent weeks Italy has faced an emergency situation as wave after wave of immigrants arrive to already-overburdened centers for refugees and asylum-seekers. In Rome, the area around Tiburtina has become temporary home to many immigrants who turn to the Baobab center for clothes, food and assistance.