Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dawn and Trent, Arbore Boy, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia, March, 2010

An entry with this young boy from the Lower Omo Valley of Ethiopia has already been made.

This entry is about another story behind his portrait and has something to do with a wire motorcycle.

Before one of my flights within Ethiopia during this trip, the men were as usual going through my baggage and inspecting the bags and bags of film. A few other passengers were also questioned regarding their belongings, helping me feel a little bit less odd this time.

One such passenger was a man named Trent. He was questioned regarding a toy motorcycle he had purchased for his little son. For some reason, the security personnel felt the need to question this seemingly caring man regarding a gift for his son.

After we cleared security, we sat down for a little bit and chatted about our experiences. My photographic work had yet to begin and this flight was to take me to the Lower Omo Valley. We talked about the toy motorcycle and enjoyed the intricacy of its construction. It was completely made of wire and had all the details right down to the mirrors. The security people were also amazed it seems.

Trent and his friends seemed very interested in my photography, in the fact that nobody was with me and that my work was all on film rather than digital. We said our goodbyes and parted ways never to see each other again.

Then one day, just a month or so ago, an email arrived from a woman named Dawn. In a sweet, gentle way she explained that she was looking for a photographer and a dentist that lived in the States, one that had travelled to Ethiopia earlier this year and one that perhaps had met a man with a toy motorcycle in the airport. Since all of those facts applied to me, my answer was in the positive.

She then explained to me that her husband was touched deeply during his time in Ethiopia and that he would so appreciate one of my photographs from our mutual time in that country. She selected an image and kept all of this secret from her husband with the help of her dear friend Kelly.

In her own words:

'It was perfect!!! I wrapped the framed photo separately from your letter and a few notes from me. He opened the photo first, and the tears started even before he really understood the whole gift. He immediately recognized the little boy as someone from Ethiopia, and that was all it took. :) He then opened the other package, read your letter and asked in a somewhat "shocked" voice, "Is this the man I met in the airport?" I think it took him a minute to take it all in, but he absolutely loved. loved, loved it!!! And the print looks amazing matted and framed. Trent is excited to reconnect with you, and I'm sure will do so once the busy-ness of Christmas, birthdays, etc. subsides.'

'I really appreciate your help in putting together such a special gift for Trent. It's really a treasure, and I just knew that he'd love it!'

Thanks again,
Dawn

PS Trent hung his photo today. It's beautiful. He plans to have some of his own framed, and they'll hang alongside yours. :)