In this very room we had lunch minutes after this portrait. I sat on the bench to the right, and my two friends sat opposite me. We were fed with love and quenched our thirst with fresh milk squeezed just for this occasion.
As always the food was delicious but way spicier than my tongue could have ever handled. Glass after glass of milk was my only answer, and the family chuckled the entire time. When the pitcher of milk was turned over by accident and milk spilled by one of my friends, our hosts reacted only with even more generosity and kindness, quickly refilling it and cleaning the spilled milk. Their faces never showed a hint of displeasure, in spite of the precious resource lost.
What amazes me most about these families is that they let me in to photograph their girls without question, then feed us before feeding the children or themselves. The children sit and watch us eating, only happy that we are enjoying our meal. This is selflessness on an entirely different level, and is a testament to these wonderful, rural communities.
The picture above was made less formally than my usual work as we walked back to the car from our morning session. The room and colors immediately struck me, and the children took to the images quickly. Some sat down while others posed for their portraits with their siblings or parents.
Two and a half years have passed since my time in these villages and I ache to return with fresh eyes. Looking at this image, as well as some of the less formal ones, gives me motivation to include the environment. The portraits without clutter will continue however, and compliment the environmental images in the telling of the stories.
I will return to this very room and hope that we don't spill the milk this time.