September 29, 2011

Haitian Braids

I just returned, late last night, from a week-long visit to my mom's small orphanage in Bon Repos, Haiti, just a few miles north of Port-au-Prince.  My mom uses her teacher retirement benefits and, as she always reminds me, my "inheritance" to feed and care for sixteen Haitian children.  I took a lot of pictures while I was there and I have many stunning faces and smiles digitally captured.  I thought long and hard about how to represent this trip without revealing the individual identities of the children.  I wanted to respect their privacy but I also had a strong desire to show the beauty and individuality of these kids.  Since the majority of my mom's children are girls and haircare is a serious daily preoccupation among them, I decided to take and display images of braids and braiding to give you just a glimpse into the rich texture that is the culture of Haiti.  My own hair was braided and rebraided several times during the past week, with less-than-satisfactory results. Most of the children, during play, braided each other's hair or grabbed a doll for a more cooperative form of braiding.  

If you liked this, you might like "Nom De Plume" and "The Hunger Games."

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