Help your brother’s boat across, and your own will reach the shore. ~Hindu Proverb
There is something so endearing about watching siblings helping each other. It is nature’s way. They were placed together to foster bonds in some cases unbreakable and incomprehensible to the outside world. These two boys passing by on my last day in the old city of Kashgar just caught me and drove me into a contemplation about life, family and the mysteries of being human.
in the alley
For these children their alley will soon become a distant memory…
We often go back to the places where we grew up and most of us find ourselves surprised at how much smaller they look, how much our imagination added to them over the years, how developed they look or how abandoned. For the children of Kashgar, they will come back to find nothing of the old. The city is under demolition and their homes will soon be gone with no trace of them ever having existed. I feel so lucky to have been one of the photographers who captured a slice of this beautiful old culture before it gets forced to metamorphose completely into something else, somewhere else.
photo taken: children playing in an old Kashgar city alley~ Xinjiang
The post genocide generation
“To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss.” The horrific motto of the Khmer Rouge, the movement whose guerrilla forces lead a genocide killing and torturing one fifth of the whole population of Cambodia in the 1970s. Cambodia had the misfortune of giving residence to the monster of war that tours our planet taking away innocence and leaving only death in its wake. But as is always the case, out of the greatest darkness, the brightest of lights is born. From those dark times comes a new age to Cambodia and in the new generation lives kindness, pride, strength, brightness and a promise of a much better future.
a safe place to rest
For ‘les enfants de la rue’, the children of the street in Kinshasa, a bit of ground in an enclosed secure place can make a world of difference where their safety is concerned. These children roam the streets by night in search of food, opportunity and means and ways. During the day, a center like this one (Cajed), is a place for them to be with people who care for a few hours. The can, eat, have lessons, play and most importantly rest. These 2 children were fast asleep during the whole of my visit and despite other children playing and running and jumping all around them.
I am quite behind in these Congo posts for April, because it gets more and more difficult each day to go relive this experience through the thousands of photos captured there. Each photograph forces me to relive the moments with all the emotions that accompanied it.
Being born into conflict, struggling to survive, finding themselves short of even the most basic of life’s necessities; what kind of future are these children looking forward to having?
If children are the hope for our future, if they will be the beacon for much needed change to come, then don’t they deserve much more than the world is giving them? It is so much easier to close one eye and just look at Africa as a lost cause that only rarely makes it to the front pages of our newspapers, but these issues are real, the children exist, their futures are hanging by a very thin thread.
Isn’t humanity dependent on humans feeling the need of other humans and doing something about it? Is enough being done?
These are some of the questions that haunt me as I go through this photo archive and as the memories these children begin to illuminate themselves in my mind again…
dancing the bad memories away
It was so clear to me the day I saw these children dancing for hours, that Africa, the land, radiates and infuses its people with rhythm. Moving seems to be the most natural thing to them and they move with a lightness and swiftness that are most beautiful to witness. These children are young demobilized child soldiers and dancing is part of their healing process.
I was able to take a couple of short videos and here is one to give an idea of the way it felt to be there and to witness this event in person.
boys in abayas
As I come close to the end of this journey back into Egypt I have to carefully choose the last 3 images I want to share with you. Temples, artifacts, artwork, that can all be seen in books, on websites, it has all been recorded again and again, but the people of Egypt, the human element, this is what I value the most in my photos from that time.
The faces of these boys, dressed in their traditional abayas, as they stood there back in 1996, would never have looked the same again. The magic of street photography is in capturing a fleeting moment that is natural, spontaneous and cannot be replicated.
So yes, I will leave you with people’s images in the last 3 posts perhaps to balance the imposing starkness and coldness of Egypt’s architecture and art.
two boys, the nile and a leaky boat
Moments with other people, they are the holders of the best of memories…
We were near Aswan, our boat drifting lazily in the January sun, the Nile river glowing with thousands of bright sequins, when we made a small pause near the shore. There, near the bank of the river were 2 boys, one of them I spoke to for a while, his name was aalaa (علاء). He had this little home made boat that he was so proud of and he used it to cross the Nile from his village to the neighboring one. He was transporting his friend who helped row the boat with his arms while aalaa used a tin can to scoop the water accumulating slowly in the bottom of their leaky boat. It was a small sketch of their daily life that stayed with me, and that drew so much endearment from me to them. Sometime it is the simplicity of life that makes it so extraordinary and the tiny things that make it so special.
it is getting louder
As China gets ready to shed the old ‘rabbit’ year and to welcome in the new ‘dragon’ year, fireworks can be heard all over the city. Fireworks, which were originally invented in China and became popular as early as the Song Dynasty, have a very strong place in the culture and daily lives of the Chinese. Not only is the new year celebrated with an explosion of fireworks, also shop openings and moving to a new home, among other important events. This year we decided to stay in Shanghai for the New Year holiday, and the city is gradually getting louder and louder as we approach the big day next week.
lighting up the firecrackers
photos taken: boys playing with firecrackers in the city streets.