forest’s keeper

the forest's keeper
forest’s keeper

I met this lady in an indigenous village alongside the Napo river just over the Peruvian border, where we were invited to make up our camp amidst the wood-constructed houses and spent the night. The child she is holding (which I remember as Naomi) was one of the very few in the camp that was healthy. Many of the other kids had fevers and/or swollen bellies, very likely caused by the malnutrition and poor living standards. The kids healthy enough to play were walking around with bags of crisps before dinner time and already when we woke up the next morning (of which the wrapping material was then either burned or ended up in the river). What became clear to me from this experience is that the merging of age-old tradition and capitalist standards (introduced by the western world) is a highly problematic one that compromises the knowledge that is hiding in the original worldview and beliefs of these indigenous people, and their age-old ability to live in harmony with Mother Nature. It was one of the first times in my journey that I realised how problematic globalisation (and the fact that I myself was there at that moment) actually were. What struck me at the moment I captured this portrait was the amount of experience written on this women’s (one of the elders of the camp) face. Looking at the profound wisdom and sense of timelessness that her gaze reveals, makes me believe that with emancipation, the sharing of knowledge and time, not all things are already lost.

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