'Waiting' by Mai Le 2017
Watercolour - 37 x 51cm
"This girl was wandering with her mother in Ta Phin. What caught my attention, more than the poignant eyes, was the mother's hands. She was younger than me yet her hands were tinged with dew and wind and wrinkled like old peoples' hands. Maybe you childhood was much harder than mine." Mai Le
If you have ever spent any time with the ethnic groups of the rugged mountain regions of Vietnam you will have been charmed by the people and been humbled by their humanity. Maybe, as you reflect on your conversations with one of the guides or remembered the look in the eyes of the women and children of the remote villages, you will recall a ghost of sadness in their wise eyes.
The children have to grow up fast. They face hardships which would be unimaginable to a child from a developed nation. They walk through mud and streams for 2 or more hours to get to the nearest school, they carry heavy bags of rice, firewood and crops on their backs and will work on the homesteads from a very young age. They are often orphaned and educations are cut short.
The 'waiting' is a hope. Hoping for a new tomorrow; hoping for a good education and a new life.