Segments in this Video

Legend Has It (03:15)


The Kara people of Ethiopia once lived in the mountains with cattle and goats. One day a runaway bull led the people to discover the Omo River. They moved beside it because of the fertile land.

Rain, the Harvest, and Livestock (03:26)

An elder of the Kara people, Dore Lokoya, says the people are unique and have lived in the area for generations. Ari Lale, the gatekeeper of the Kara people, says they believe in a God and rain is God. Bi Lale describes the hard work of the women who are responsible for gathering firewood and water as well as other tasks each day.

Protection of Our People (02:47)

Kara elder Labuko Lale says that the tribe was once powerful and strong but is now cursed by the mingi. Dore Akir, the Kara king, says the mingi is ancient and of three types, and that every mingi child must be killed.

Cursed Killings (02:17)

The Kara people kill what they call "mingi children." The killing is usually left to the women who strangle the children with rope and discard their bodies in the bush. Elder Dore Lale Haila tells of his second son who was strangled to death after being labeled mingi.

Good People (03:12)

Lale Labuko says that the Kara people are isolated from the world without money, electricity, and knowledge of others. He says the Kara people are good people, hospitable, sociable, and generous.

Keeping Traditions Safe (02:03)

A young Kara woman says she fears the mingi curse and cannot talk about it. She says decisions are made by the elders and that mingi children must be killed, as culture dictates. She gave birth to a baby and knew it would be killed; she abandoned it on the ground.

Smart Son (02:21)

Labuko's parents say that the elders were unhappy and angry when he was sent to school. Children were expected to stay and farm but Labuko's father insisted that it was his decision. At age nine, Labuko began walking 70 miles to school to receive an education.

Essential Education (04:10)

Labuko was one of the first of the Kara people to go to school. He believes education is a precursor for peace and a solution for poverty. At age 15, Labuko learned about the mingi killings and the types of mingi.

Mingi Gatekeeper (03:44)

Once a mingi child is killed, it is brought to a woman for a blessing. Local culture allows men to have many wives so many children are killed. A nude woman who has killed 12 mingi children says she feels no remorse.

Ending Mingi Practice (04:34)

After high school, Labuko became a teacher and went to educate his village after graduation. He plans to challenge the elders and save the children. Lale Biwa and Labuko have discussed ending mingi together and Biwa tells of children being smothered.

Sharing Horrors (04:09)

Labuko first met his wife at a museum and says they fell in love at first sight. Gido had been engaged to someone else, but he stepped in for her. They had a daughter, Regina, and Gido agreed to help stop the mingi killings.

Fear of Angry Elders (02:05)

Labuko tells a family he is going to rescue their pregnant daughter's baby. He explains the importance of education and the family expresses their fear about allowing Labuko to rescue the child and refuse to take the risk.

Persuading the Family (03:27)

Labuko decided he was ready to challenge the elders. His mother knew the elders were planning to kill Labuko. Labuko's father feared that he would bring a curse onto the family, but Labuko reasons with him.

Ritual Victim (02:02)

Elder Hylo Ari says he is a victim of mingi as his daughter was killed last year after being labelled teeth mingi. One day, his mother stopped to feed the baby and noticed the teeth coming from the top of her gums. Another woman noticed and told the villagers.

To Rescue Bale (04:06)

Ari says the elders insisted that he kill his daughter after she was deemed teeth mingi. He refused and said he would kill anyone who took her. To protect the child, he took his daughter to the other side of the river and was isolated. Labuko and his wife rescued the child.

Fighting for the Children (02:33)

Labuko and his wife were in danger after rescuing the girl, but remained sure that the youth of the Kara people held the power and responsibility to change the superstitions. Gude Ari tells about his mingi child being killed when he was a teenager. Labuko targeted the educated youth of the population because they were most likely to understand the ideas.

June 16, 2011 (04:12)

Labuko and his wife rescued a mingi girl. They were warned that he was in danger. Gude Ari tells about his mingi child being killed in his youth, while Silbo Shanko andFayessa Babur say that the mingi is an untrue ancient tradition.

Omo Child Home (02:00)

The rescue operation started by Labuko continued to grow. The home received a new baby each month and money was short, but Labuko began the project and knew retreat was not an option.

Dus Village: August 21, 2011 (04:25)

At the village, Labuko called a meeting with the elders. They threatened him by relating him to monkeys that they kill. Labuko went away for two months and 11 children were killed in the meantime, so Labuko returned with four of the rescued children to show their healthy nature.

The Child Killers (02:59)

Labuko's father admits that his son needs the elders' support. His father was instructed by the elders to tell his son to stop or to suffer. Other tribes know the Kara for their practice of murdering mingi children.

Dus Village: December 14, 2011 (03:50)

The government, the Kara elders, and the rescuers attended a meeting. Government official Atowele Alma Kele says that the government has been trying to end the mingi tradition for six years and that murder is illegal in Ethiopia.

Mingi Culture (04:12)

The government ordered that the Kara people must keep the children, cursed or not, and an elder says they feared that the curse would continue. They decided to allow Labuko to remove some of the "cursed" children. Labuko observed the financial difficulties of saving many children and continued to try to persuade the Kara people to keep the children.

Mingi is Wrong (04:07)

After a baby was starved for two weeks prior to rescue, Labuko called the most important meeting yet. An elder debated Labuko's logic, calling the young generation of Kara loudmouths that cannot be trusted. Despite this, the mood of this meeting was different than the other.

Loud as a Machine Gun (02:14)

A Kara elder says that she is tired of the mingi problem and that people are starving in the meantime. Another says that the elders were beginning to realize the problem needed to be addressed. A vote secured the ending of mingi practice, but Labuko worried.

Dus Village: July 14, 2012 (05:25)

The elders voted at the ceremony house before changing the culture at the mingi gate, making a decision after a lengthy debate. They decided to pray for rain to bless the change of culture, admitting it was wrong. Five minutes later, it rained.

Future Doctors, Nurses, Pilots, and Engineers (02:11)

Gido Labuko talks about how important it is for the rescued children to succeed and how they are the next leaders of the generation. The Omo Child organization celebrates the saved children and their promised futures.

Rescue MIssion Continues (01:55)

The Kara people have accepted babies that would have been deemed mingi and they are being kept. They marvel at the health of the babies and promise to stay strong, changing the practice forever. Still, 50,000 people in the Omo Valley continue to practice mingi, though the Kara stopped.

Credits: Omo Child: The River and the Bush (02:04)

Credits: Omo Child: The River and the Bush

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Omo Child: The River and the Bush

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In Ethiopia's Omo Valley, children are being killed horrifically under an ancient tradition known as 'mingi'. Teeth growing in a certain order can bring a child a death sentence. One young tribesman strives for change through education and adopting the cursed children. But challenging tribal superstition isn't easy and as he battles to save lives, things are not all that they seem. This clever film will stay with you long after you watch it.

Length: 90 minutes

Item#: BVL118317

ISBN: 978-1-63521-442-0

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video customers.