Tag Archives: Documentary

Saint George’s Festival, Lalibela

Our visit to Lalibela happened to coincide with the celebration of Saint George at the Bete Giyorgis, one of the eleven rock-hewn monolithic churches, and pilgrimage site for the member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
 
Bete Giyorgis is to me far the most spectacular of the Lalibela churches because carved out of the ground and shaped from the inside out as unbroken piece of stone. It is also one of the few churches not being spoiled by the UNESCO uninteresting installation being built like umbrellas over the roof of other churches to protect them from the environmental elements. Bete Giyorgis is isolated from the other groups and beautifully sits surrounded by the rural and pastoral landscape.
 
The construction of this church is ascribed to King Lalibela (late 12th or early 13th AD), who wanted to recreate the reign of Jerusalem, and it is today one of the holiest places in Ethiopia.
 
Witnessing the Saint George religious festival almost feels like traveling to a biblical atmosphere. At the early hours of the morning, believers are already standing on the rocks surrounding the church, immersed in their prayers and reading the Holy Bible. Many have already made it throughout the narrow passage leading down to the Church courtyard. As the sun rises, rays of light make their way to enlighten natural caves where pilgrims are playing drums and chanting.
 
The monolithic block gradually comes alive as people keep gathering together to celebrate the Holy Mass. The chants contrast with the silent of the rock. The beautiful white traditional dresses, carrying diverse cross motives, juxtapose with the colour of the volcanic tuff the rocks are made off.
 
Later in the morning, as we emerge from the courtyard, the entire site is crowded with believers. A few hours later people will gradually leave to go to schools or workplaces.
 
The Saint George festival is only a small flavour of the many religious events happening in Lalibela. Our guide, Haile, very knowledgeable about Lalibela and surrounding areas, made it possible for us to ‘seamlessly’ blend into the celebration.
 
Few days later, back to London, we feel much closer to the Ethiopian community gathering for the Sunday morning mess at the nearby church, where we are being welcomed very warmly.
 
The experience in Lalibela has created a deep and emotional connection with Ethiopia.
 

 


















Thanks to our tour guide in Lalibela, Hailemariam Wubet (link to facebook page)

Posted in Africa, Documentary, Editorial, Festival, People, Religion, Travel Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Addis Merkato, Ethiopia

Last week in Ethiopia we had the opportunity to visit the Addis Merkato, considered to be the largest open market in Africa.
 
Initially overwhelm by the hectic scene, chaos, noise, myriads of business trading all sort of goods, we have adventured into the side streets which lead to various sections of the market.
 
Despite the large size, it is always possible to exit the market from different sides and join one of the main roads surrounding the area. From there it is easy to walk back to the starting point or look for transport.
 
Our guide, Joseph, a tourism student, is very knowledgeable about Addis and the Merkato, and helps us communicating with local. Gradually, the market starts to make sense.
 
We walked throughout stalls selling exotic spices and strong coffee beans. Primarily female and kids are working there and call us “faranji” as we pass by. To them, every foreigner is from China.
 
We learn about the Enset, “false banana” paste, a multipurpose crop feeding more people per square miles than any other cereal.
 
Perhaps the most interesting section is the “recycling” area where things get fixed and eventually traded back in the market. The sound from hundreds of workers chiselling hard material, joining metals part, fixing pots, is like a restless jazz orchestra. In the Merkato, everything gets recycled.
 
People welcome us with curiosity. Some smile and do not mind our presence; others let us understand, in a polite way, that photographs are unwanted. Kids are excited at meeting foreigners and like the engagement. Some wants to take photos with us.
 
At the end of our visit, just before sunset, leaving the market means wanting to go back soon to understand more.

Posted in Africa, Documentary, Editorial, Market, People, People at work, Travel Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

THE NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL 2018

A few shots from The Notting Hill Carnival. The Jouvert,  the Family day under a pouring rain, and the final parade day…

 

 

Posted in Carnival, Documentary, Editorial, Festival, London, People, The Notting Hill Carnival Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

“Rialto no se toca”.The Rialto Market in Venice

Opened at the beginning of the 11th century, the Rialto Market has always been at the commercial heart of Venice, and has been supplying fresh fish and vegetables to the town for all this time. Located nearby the Rialto Bridge, it is unsurprisingly  crowded with tourists.
 
Despite the popularity, the Market remains a genuine place where Venetians gather to buy quality food and socialize.
The authenticity of the Market is palpable from the early hours of the morning when the fresh food is delivered by boat, by the noise of the traders, by the sound of their voices in the strong Venetian dialect, by local elders pushing their trolleys, by the seagulls that piles up around fish leftovers after the market closes and the blinds are lifted up.
 
In this respect, the market could be considered a microcosm where Venice still finds its voice, and refuses to become a mere tourist attraction.
 
“Rialto no se toca” (Don’t touch the Rialto Market) roars the Lion, symbol of Venice, as written on the Market banner, was placed there by fishmongers in 2011 when the local municipality proposed moving the wholesale fish market further from the city.
 

 





















 
 

Posted in Documentary, Editorial, Italy, Market, Travel Photography, Venice Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Belgrade Refugees Aid

Thousands of refugees are everyday passing through Serbia on the way to western European countries (mainly Germany, Scandinavian countries and Holland) hoping for a better life. Many are temporarily based in Belgrade, in the park, by the bus station. The conditions have worsened in the last few days since an increased number of people have arrived crossing the Macedonia border. Entire families are staying overnight before continuing they journey with only basic stuff and rely on the help they find along the way.

Belgrade refugees aid

Belgrade refugees aid

Belgrade refugees aid

Belgrade refugees aid

The support from Belgrade have been generous and number of initiatives are born to support those in needs with services and donations.

I had the opportunity to help at the refugee cloths/food collection centre in Belgrade, initiated by the cultural organisation Mikser House and supported by a number of local charities such as Refugee Aid Serbia, Sačuvajmo bebe, Srpska Solidarnost Hranom, GivingBackSerbia (NGO) and others.

These charities have joined forces under the umbrella of Refugee Aid Serbia and cooperate between themselves bypassing the State and larger/bureaucratic organisations, slower by nature, in order to act fast and provide immediate help.

The centre currently provides clothes, food and hygiene products as well as doctor’s support for children. It relies on the effort of volunteers and donations from the citizens. The response, from the people of Belgrade, has been overwhelming, bringing aid to the centre on daily basis.

Belgrade refugees aid

Belgrade refugees aid

BelgradeAid-5

Belgrade refugees aid

Belgrade refugees aid

Belgrade refugees aid

Belgrade refugees aid

There is a truly international team working hard every day to help refugees, overcoming cultural differences and languages barriers mainly between English, Serbian and Arabic.

A special contribution came from Morgan and Danielle (WeGoSerbia), who arrived to Belgrade hitch-hiking from Brighton, UK, which have offered their expertise and strong leadership skills gained working for the British Red Cross, as well as networking for this initiative to grow even more.

Thanks to all involved in helping those in need, all the companies involved all the volunteers and citizens who organised themselves bringing the essentials.

Belgrade refugees aid

Belgrade refugees aid

Below are the links for those who wishes to contact the various charities organisations involved.

Refugee Aid Serbia: https://www.facebook.com/groups/999905293382660/

GivingBackSerbia: https://www.facebook.com/givingbackserbia?fref=ts

Sačuvajmo bebe : https://www.facebook.com/Sacuvajmobebe?fref=ts

Srpska Solidarnost Hranom : http://www.srpskasolidarnosthranom.org

Mikser House: https://www.facebook.com/mikser.belgrade?fref=ts

Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bgfvc/

WeGoSerbia : https://www.facebook.com/wegoserbia?fref=ts

Refugees cloths/food collection center address: Mostarska 5, Beograd

 

Francesco

Posted in Belgrade, Serbia Also tagged , , , , , , , |