Meet little Mialy, Mia, and their father…known simply as Baba. They—along with 15 other siblings—made up my host family during a time spent in the arid region of southern Madagascar, where I was doing research on the Antandroy communities.
I often think back to this family with bittersweet fondness. When I was there, I was profoundly inspired by their love for life and their appreciation of the simple joys it brings…while endlessly cheered by their wide grins and generous laughter.
But now, when I glance at this photo, their visage seems to reveal a truth much deeper…and my heart aches a little.
Nevertheless, the sound of their laughter will remain with me forever, and I am thankful to have met them…and grateful for the lessons they taught me in treasuring the simple moments in life.
• Mahantantely, Madagascar & Takoradi, Ghana •
Through my time spent abroad during the holiday seasons, I noticed something:
That despite our dissimilar lives, cultures, appearances, beliefs…
one thing never changes:
Our love and compassion for one another.
Wishing everyone much love this December.
(Kumasi, Ghana, West Africa)
On my first day of walking to work at the hospital,
I met a group of children who would end up becoming my daily escorts.
This was a moment captured while the vigilant residents
inspected my suspicious-looking digital device.
(Ambaro, Madagascar) Although this family treasured life and found joy in the simple things…it is no lie that each day was still a struggle.
Our village specialized in ‘bageda’…sweet potatoes. After harvesting them, we would bring them to the market and trade them for maize. Though only Hanitra and Puppydoc are pictured here…the entire family worked very hard.
(Faux Cap, Southern Madagascar)
When Puppydoc first arrived at her new home, the villagers were a tad bashful…but this issue resolved itself rather quickly.
(Fort Dauphin, Madagascar) While studying in the southern region, these nine boys never failed to keep Puppydoc company as she walked to work.
Saying goodbye to a dear family in Tema, Ghana.
A dear family I lived with while in Mahantantely, Central Madagascar
Within arid depths of a land below
abides the humble village of l’Ambaro.
A world where clothing is prized but threadbare;
a world where meals are luxuries proved rare.
A world where days with famine are fraught;
a world the remaining earth long forgot.
But this is a place where
pure are the hearts,
simple are the joys,
the love of each part.
Where drums hum daily
their languid song,
enchanting the children
all the day long.
Where families dance into
the hallowed night,
under faint moonlight.
Where sand curls freely
about their feet,
stomped to each beat…