I’ve recently been going through my photos, in large part because I have a bad habit of transferring photos to my hard drive and then forgetting to delete the blurry ones, which means many photos are taking up precious hard drive space.
Through this process, I’ve been reminded of all my travels, misadventures and almost forgotten little stories. I’ve been toying with the idea for a while to highlight a photo with an antidote or story as a way to reflect on my past trips and document stories before I forget them. Today, I’m starting my first ever series on my blog, called Flashback Photo Fridays, where I will share a photo and a story and/or why the photo has special meaning to me. Let’s hope I can keep a weekly post going…
This photo brings a smile to my face every time it flashes on my computer screen. I had just finished a 3 day trek in the Usambara mountains, just me and a registered guide. I had met my guide at the tiny little shack of an office with a listing of the various hikes in the region and a list of registered licensed guides.
We met, chatted, had a delicious rice pilau lunch in a little restaurant at midday and it was set. The following day, I met him outside my guest house, dropped my big 60 liter pack at the local office to store for the next 3 days and we started trekking, 7 hrs a day each day. Eating a light breakfast with coffee at a local make-shift hut and buying veggies from the woman in town and making lunch on the road- veggies wrapped in Chapati bread, an Indian style flatbread. Delicious. We walked through lush green hills, farms on the hillside, occasional woman walking long distances to market and every so often, kids screaming my nickname “mzungu,” which has variations on a theme in meaning but essentially is “white one” and “foreigner.” My face lit up every time. “How do they see me? Where are they,” I wondered as I squinted my eyes looking into the distance, often into the valley.
Always curious, I seemed to lighten up their day. Many wanted to touch me, some demanded money (which made me angry and sad but that’s another post) but most were just excited to see me.
This photo was taken at the top of my trek in Mtae, I had reached the summit and planted myself on a patch of grass enjoying the vistas and my accomplishment. I’m not a hiker but have a bad tendency to sign myself up for things because, well, it’s a cool opportunity. Not more than 30 seconds of sitting down, a group of kids were all over me, mimicking me snapping photos, wanting their photo taken while trying to swipe my camera out of my hands. I’m pretty sure they wondered what the heck my little black box did and I was happy to snap a photo of them and sure them their image. I couldn’t blame them. It’s not everyday a they get visitors in their remote villages. Surprisingly, I only have a few shoots of them.
When I look at the picture I wonder, how are they? What are they doing now? I wonder how it would be if they received this photo! Do they have many photos, if any, of themselves? I have found the local tourist office webpage and every now and again, I think about printing the photos and sending them… It’s been 5 years ago, since I took this trek!