Omo Child: The Bush and the River

About This Episode


In Ethiopia's Omo valley, children are being killed horrifically under an ancient tradition known as 'mingi.' One young tribesman strives for change through education and adopting the cursed children but challenging tribal superstition isn't easy. As he battles to save lives, things are not all that they seem.

Under Kara tradition, any child born with the feared mingi curse must be sacrificed. "Every mingi child must be killed. We do this for the protection of our people" explains Dore Akir, leader of the Kara. A baby is Mingi if it is born out of wedlock, without the blessing of the elders, or if its teeth emerge in a specific order, and any child with the curse is sacrificed shortly after birth, or often left to die in the forest. This practice of killing mingi children is ingrained in the Kara culture, and has taken place for generations. But now Lale Labuko, one of the first of the tribe to receive a formal education, has returned to the village to end the practice and save the 'cursed' children.

Lale offers to adopt the mingi children himself, taking them away from the village and saving them from the wilderness. But many of the Kara see his efforts as a direct threat to their identity. In a culture so ruled by ancestral tradition, Lale must risk everything to bring about meaningful change.