Ethiopia: The Land of the Dead

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Almost as fast as the newcomers arrive, others depart. Each day in Quiha, grieving parents wrap the bodies of their children in burlap parcels tied with string and carry them to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the neighboring village. There, as priests under bright umbrellas chant ageless prayers, the tiny bodies are placed in a long trench. And each dusk in Bati, when the sun burns red and fierce, four men carry bodies from the house of the dead up a steep hill to their common grave. —By Pico Iyer. Reported by James Wilde/Bati, with other bureaus

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