Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

The dirty-faced kid that made me cry

Days like yesterday leave me a bit more broken than normal. I even cried (but not where anyone could see me – that would have been plain inappropriate.)

Anri-Louise of Growing the Nations Therapy Programmes had invited me to one of the flood relief shelters I’d visited last week. They had activities planned for the children and she knew I’d enjoy being there. First, they played some games, then handed out a colouring sheet and crayon to each of the children. While many of the kids were busy with that, three of the volunteers painted the kids’ faces.

As the children started colouring I noticed one young girl, her baby sibling strapped to her back and a younger brother in hand, watching. All the materials had been distributed by the time she arrived, and I noticed her looking on sadly at all the others having so much fun. But every time someone would go off to have his or her face painted she would grab their colouring sheets and crayons and colour intently. Sometimes they would come back to claim their pictures, which she would hand back begrudgingly.

I asked if she wanted to have her face painted but she was not interested. All she wanted was to colour.

What was her story? Why had she been left to look after both siblings? Were her parents out working or looking for work? Did she even have parents? If not for the floods, would she have been at school? Or not?

How sad, but how normal here in Antananarivo, that kids have to grow up so quickly. I wished I could have done something to make both her life and the others kids’ lives there easier, happier. But there wasn’t, really.

All I did have was my photography. The children love having their photos taken and ask for it incessantly. The little girl didn’t. In fact, she shied away from the camera.

Eventually I packed it away and brought out my “tickle-monster” persona. It was the first time I saw her smile and laugh.

(Click on photos for bigger versions.)

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2 comments on “The dirty-faced kid that made me cry

  1. Jem
    March 26, 2015

    It’s a broken world.

  2. There_Lot
    March 26, 2015

    Beautiful little girl!

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This entry was posted on March 26, 2015 by in Madagascar, Real Life and tagged , , .
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