Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Crying Stone of Llesi, Western Kenya, 2007

This stone is situated near the town if Kakamega, Kenya and goes by the name of 'The Crying stone of Llesi. Legend has it that tears of water have endlessly flown down the facade, giving this stone its name. We take a break from our work with MACODEF and stop by the side of the road to make this image. My friend tells me that we can walk closer to the stone, asking permission from the people whose land it sits. They would also of course require a fee for the visit. He tells me also that an image from the street is permissible and free of charge, being that the land is public land. We decide to make the image from the road, wanting to make it simple. We do so and the people of that land nonetheless come to see us, requiring a fee for this portrait of 'their' stone. In the meantime, a little boy from nowhere begins to tell us the story of the stone, elegantly and without anything desired in return. He enjoys our company and we enjoy his as well. He is curious and watches us make the image. He smiles. At the end of our session, the people from the property are still standing, waiting for their payment, the boy a little distance from them. We get into the car, the older folks begin to show their disappointment while the boy just smiles. We wave the boy closer to the car, he comes. We put a payment into his hand secretively for his services as our guide, he smiles, looks slowly at the adults behind him, makes a break for the other side of the road, runs up the hill to his house, all with a smile and all while waving goodbye.

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