OMG… Bad karma has hit me the last two days. I accidentally deleted a great day of photos from my camera and the iPad , the iPad crashed while trying to delete all that data. Before the crash my contractor sent an email saying checks I left at home to cover remodeling were bouncing….bad times but all is corrected and back on track.
The pictures lost were from a day of visiting riverside villages. Docking is an ordeal. The community begins to gather on the banks while the crew ties us up and digs or secures to steps for the boarding plank. Once the planks are secure and we????disembark, the children swarm in. “Hello, what is your name, my name is Joe. Look at my mother’s weaving.”. At first they seem very smart but while they hold your hand and walk you thru the village you realize that there is No comprehension the phrases are memorized, they probably know the script in French also.
After several of us were guilty of slipping some money to the kids the boat guides educated us- one dollar that we give the kids keeps them out of school because five kids begging brings more money to the family than the mom and dad are likely to make that day.
The last village we visited was originally gifted by a Frenchman and then a French NGO. The difference in lifestyle, health and education level is stunning. The water buffalo are fat and sleek, they grow three kinds of rice, the houses are bigger and they have clean water. 140 families live in this cooperative and all the children go to school. There are craft sales but no begging. If I had pictures I would show you a lady carrying rice straw, a herd of water buffalo swimming and the beautiful children.
We also visited an orphanage. At dinner the conversation between Mary and Frank, the ship cynic, centered around the orphanage art work, was it original work of the children or copied by them?