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Surma Warriors At Donga Stick Fighting Ritual, in Omo Valley,... News PhotoEthiopia,Horn of Africa,Human Interest,Omo Valley,SquarePhotographer Collection: Gamma-Rapho 2011 Gamma-RaphoETHIOPIA - JULY 04: Surma Warriors At Donga Stick Fighting Ritual, in Omo Valley, Ethiopia on July 04, 2010 - One of the main Surma Suri customs is stick fighting. This ritual and sport is called Donga or Sagenai (Saginay). Donga is both the name of the sport and the stick, whereas sagenai is the name of the stick-fighting session. Stick fighting is central in Suri culture. In most cases, stick fighting is a way for warriors to find girlfriends, it can also be a way to settle conflicts. On this occasion men show their courage, their virility and their resistance to pain, to the young women. The fights are held between Suri villages, and begin with 20 to 30 people on each side, and can end up with hundreds of warriors involved. Suri are famous for stick fighting, but they are not the only ones to respect such a custom, as the neighbor tribe, the Mursi, also practice these traditional fights. The day before the sagenai, fighters have to purge themselves. They do it by drinking a special preparation, called dokai, which is made of the bark of a special tree, which is mixed with water. After taking it, warriors make themselves vomiting the drink. The water is supposed to bring with it many of the body's impurities. After this ritual they don't eat until the following morning. Warriors walk kilometers to come fighting at Sagenai, which takes place in a clearing. They stop when crossing a river in order to wash themselves, before decorating their bodies for the fight. They decorate themselves by sliding the fingers full of clay on the warrior's bodies. This dressing up and decoration is meant to show their beauty and virility and thus catch the women's attention. The phallic shape ending the sticks contributes to that virile demonstration. Fighters' arrive on the Donga field all together, carrying the strongest man,dancing and singing. Some fighters wear colourful headdresses sometimes with feathers on it. (Photo by Eric LAFFORGUE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)