81-Year-Old Grass Cutter


This series of pictures occurred on day 22 of our adventure.   We had spent the afternoon at a mission center near Mahlanya, Swaziland observing the daily feeding of some of the area youth (@ 100 children from age 4 to 14).   We also were part of a small group that walked about a mileScreen Shot 2015-11-08 at 4.23.05 PM from the mission center to deliver a bucket of groceries plus about 30 pounds of rice and beans to a grandmother looking after 5 young children.

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Both parents of the 5 children died from a “headache” according to the grandmother (our interpreter said it was HIV).  At the end of the afternoon while on the way back from observing and processing all the struggles we witnessed I noticed an old woman beside the road.

She was brightly dressed and cutting grass with a sickle so I asked the van driver to stop. We had just started the 45 minute drive back to Manzini through the fertile farm country when the driver gave me a look that he thought I was crazier than he originally thought.

I got out of the vehicle and was gesturing if I could take the woman’s picture – as she was evidently saying no.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 4.06.09 PMI was clicking the shutter with assistance from the viewfinder while we “discussed” the situation.   In the meantime her son crossed the dirt road from their dwelling and tried to convince her it was OK.   That’s when she really got mad and screamed at him.

slide3(Click on the photo to see better resolution of one of my favorite pictures of the entire trip).

Her son and our mission guide talked to the woman for a couple of minutes and somehow convinced her (twice) to cooperate.  The next picture is after the first convincing.

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The next picture is after they told her I was famous and had money.

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These photos are a really good reminder to me of a very complicated day.