Portraits give you a picture of the soul. This is something I have always believed. When we travel, we meet so many sweet and curious children of the world that absolutely love having their photos taken. Over the years we have taken away memories to last a lifetime from children that have touched our hearts. Their smiles will be forever engrained in our memories and today we want to share some of our favourite moments with you.
Portraits: Children of the World
While visiting Sri Lanka, we had the pleasure of visiting a small school in the jungle where our tuk tuk driver was donating shoes to the children that he had spent the last year raising money for and had hand made in the Southern Town of Galle. This little girl stole our hearts as she helped hand out the boxes to the other school kids.
Traveling through Mongolia was one of the most welcoming experiences we've ever had. Everyone was happy to stop by our camps and say hello. They were excited to have us visit their country and they were interested in knowing why we were there and where we were going. It was the children on horseback that really caught our attention. As young as five or six years old these kids can ride a horse like nobody. They would look after hundreds of heads of cattle and goats while sitting high upon their steed. Whenever we stopped to say hello, they sat proudly to post for a picture. It really makes the perfect portrait.
In Inle Lake, Burma we rented some bicycles to ride around the countryside. We happened upon these two boys who absolutely loved posing for us. It was like a fashion shoot on the top of an ox in the middle of a field of South East Asia. They were as mischievous as they were clever and they did not want us to leave. We find that so many children of the world love having their photos taken like these two boys. One of the most rewarding things you can do is show a child their photograph and watch their faces light up as they see themselves for the first time.
While cycling through Africa, we rode for Plan Canada and had the opportunity to visit a few of their projects on the continent. This school in Malawi is something to be proud of and we were happy to see the good work that Plan was doing with the money they received from donations. This school was filled with healthy and happy children learning mathematics, playing in the playground, eating healthy meals thanks to their garden and received regular check up from the health care workers that visited regularly. We were followed by crowds of children our entire time there and this girl's striking eyes stood out to us. Carrying her little sister on her back, she never left our side.
While attending the Shilpgram arts festival in Udaipur, India we were dazzled by this young girl selling arts and crafts at her parents booth. She seemed to know that everyone was captivated by her as she stood still piercing our souls with her intense eyes. When I asked to take her photograph, she gave a simple nod and stared right into the camera. Proud, strong and determined. She may be hard at work, but just like so many children of the world, this young girl was excited to have her picture taken and loved the attention.
Fiji is an island that seems to be filled with the happiest people on earth. It was during a kava ceremony that this young girl watched on from the door. She sat and enjoyed the festivities from afar but you could see that she wanted to join in. Once the dancing began, Deb went over to her and grabbed her hand and they danced around the circle together for song after song. It was one of those moments where we were invited into a community and felt a part of the celebration.
While trekking to Everest Base Camp we happened upon this little ham that was doing his best Zoolander poses for us all. He rolled around on a bench laughing and posing as each trekker walked by. He couldn't stop giggling, but we were patient and waited for the crowds to pass and snap their quick photos. Once he calmed down at bit, he took a look at us and stared innocently into the lens of the camera. After I showed him the photograph, he started laughing uncontrollably again. It was then that we finally knew it was time to move on. This little guy was having a blast basking in the sun.
You may have heard about the times that children pelted us with rocks in Ethiopia and you may have heard us complain about how difficult it was to cycle through that country, but it is also an incredibly beautiful place. Life is hard there and even though the kids have an odd habit of throwing stones at foreigners, they are still extremely adorable. Their smiles light up the land and you can't help but forgive them for trying to take you out as you ride by with that seemingly innocent staff.
When taking photos of children of the world, it is very important to be sensitive. Ask their permission, don't invade their space and if they don't want their photo taken, don't take it. Many children will run up to you to ask to have the photo taken, make sure to kneel down to their level so that you aren't hovering over them when taking a photograph.