Thursday, March 4, 2010

Girls of Karagwe, Tanzania

Yesterday I posted some photos of women and felt that I wanted to represent some girls I have seen here as well.

The top picture is a girl I met walking on a lane with a friend on her way home from primary school. She was polite, spoke some English and told me, as best she could, of her family. We walked as far as her house. I assume she had, like so many others, come a long distance. All school girls must have short hair, but no one has explained to me the reason. Also all students are required to wear uniform colors representing their school.

I snapped the second photo along the main road. I had taken pictures of a number of boys when these giggling girls appeared and demanded equal treatment. They formed this pose on their own.

I am less certain whether the girl in the third picture goes to school. It is possible that she had changed clothes and then began to work, but, for some reason, I doubt it. Education costs and some families need help from all members to survive. There is much debate about whether girls are still less educated, but in any case, I have seen, I believe, an equal amount of girls and boys on their way to and from school.

I appreciate all the thoughtful comments that I received on my last post from those of you who approached the question intuitively or from studies. I gather thoughts from all sources and take my time. These ideas swirl about me like dry leaves. When I finally catch one and hold onto it, it usually crumbles in my hand. What I am left with is lots of fascinating powder to ponder.


  1. Beautiful girls, wonderful photos, great writing!

  2. How beautiful they are! And your photos are fantastic, Lee! And another wonderful and insightful post as well. Thank you again for sharing this very meaningful Amizade Adventure.


  3. Well... her hair is short.

    Short hair to avoid pests? Just a thought.

    Beautiful faces.

  4. Today for some reason I focused on the last lines of your post, probably because I've been immersed in a very similar whirlwind of thoughts lately. I know it can feel chaotic and disorienting, because there are so many of them and often they are contradictory. But I think it's good that you're resisting the impulse to jump to premature conclusions.

    Maybe I can (or should) only speak for myself here. I find that if I'm willing to tolerate the ambiguity and seeming mental chaos for awhile, a conclusion or perception comes gradually into focus. When it does, it's more likely to be true than if I try to impose some kind of "logical" order on my thoughts prematurely.

    All of your pictures are wonderful, but I especially like that last one of the little girl with the bunch of bananas on her head. You could very well be right in your suspicion that she doesn't go to school at all, but I'd like to believe she has already come home and started the second part of her day in the banana grove.

  5. This has nothing to do with the subject matter of your post, but the pictures all look so warm, green, and lush I want to walk right into them! Here in Iowa we've had at least a half foot of snow on the ground since the first week of December.
    Regarding the kids, do you see the boys lugging water and doing other chores as much as you do the girls? It seems pictures from that region always show girls working. Don't know if that is part of the culture or just the choices of photographers.

  6. Again, another wonderful post. My first impression was the wonderful faces. I love the three girls posing. I wondered if you posed them, but they did it on their own. It's a striking photo, as they all are. You have a gift for people shots. Nice text, as always. I also think the short hair may be about lice or some other pest.

  7. I meant to mention. So far, we've seen backgrounds that were filled with vegetation. It was very cool to see the hills in the background in pic number 1.

  8. I am glad to respond personally to every question but do not want the "comment" section to be a debate forum ass I have written before. It is too difficult to maintain and can cause uncomfortable feelings which may discourage comments. Also it is hard for me to access as long as I am in this part of Tanzania,it since it loads with the pictures. "Keith" among others has asked questions and stated opinions which are deserving response but has failed to leave contact information. If you wish additional thoughts from this end, please send me some way you wish me to respond.