Biratnagar, Nepal. 2008
This was one of those important days. The ones you remember forever. It was one of those days that give you an abiding sense of hope.
It was also one of those days you work really hard – the heat and humidity had soaked through all my clothes, I had chemical burns on a finger and thumb from slipping on the squat toilet and placing my hand in cleanser that morning, and the sun was so bright it made for tough shooting. But it was impossible to complain, to do anything but get on with the job and be deeply grateful that my work is so rewarding, and is accomplished without once putting 50lbs of bricks on my head.
This gal works harder than I ever will in a liftetime of working. Hours a day at the brick kiln carrying loads of 3kg bricks on her head, eight at a time, back and forth under incredible heat. She was, is, a child laborer.
She’s also confident, has a beautiful smile and is working on her education and starting a small business. She’s the reason I feel great hope for places like Nepal. In a culture of passive acceptance of the fates, she’s grabbing her future with great tenacity. Children like her, and all the children I spent time with in Nepal, inspire me, humble me.
I’m posting this with the kind permission of the girl, who I am leaving unnamed, and of World Education Nepal for whom I shot this image. Big thanks again to Sraddha, one of the most capable, and fun, producers/clients I have worked with.