A few to pick from - but I couldn't resist the colour on this one. One of the alternatives (here) is almost the opposite - a natural black and white!
Went up the lighthouse again, this time with Georgetown photographers Nikhil, Michael and Andre. Had a couple of shots from the lighthouse, but couldn't resist the one of this construction worker taking a break on the back of a pick-up, playing his variation on the triangle.
A really difficult choice today. There was a nice photo of Fr Britt surrounded by young people, with every eye right on him, but it didn't quite get Britt himself into the picture enough. Then there was a good portrait of Britt looking straight into camera. And then the challenging group shot. Not a masterpiece, but a result, balancing a lot of people, different areas of light, and a couple of remote flashes! I really wanted to get Britt swamped by local people and children and I think the effect might be there!
In the end I went for the one which I think is probably technically the best!
A special day today - a long ritual to lure the wild pigs of the mountains into the village where they can be easily hunted and roasted! The day starts with the making of the grass skirts, out on a rock near the forest. Once the skirts are ready then the procession begins. Hollowed bamboo horns are blown towards the areas where the bakuru, the hairy pigs, roam. The procession then moves off, singing and chanting, winding its way over the savannah and through all the local creeks. At each creek the procession troops through the deepest part and everyone whoops and gurgles, enjoying the cool water after the long walk. At some points on the route the procession is refreshed by girls carrying parakari, local homebrew. The girls wear bright green grass skirts and decorations. They are known as the hummingbirds, darting around and providing the nectar that keeps the pig enticers refreshed.
Difficult to pick just one for today... Should be some alternatives up soon!
The nursery school is finally getting its kitchen built. The tiny children who walk many miles each day to come to school will be able to get a hot meal, cooked by volunteers, using donated food.
For Amerindian Heritage Month I set up a makeshift photo studio in the half-built new community centre in Aishalton. The plan was to take portraits of Aishalton villagers wearing their traditional dress. The first person to come was Celine, along with her husband Kid and their two children Konainmo and Aichauzo. She didn't come for her picture - she just came to watch whilst I photographed Kid and the kids. After I'd taken those pictures I asked Celine if she'd step in front of the camera. She looked a bit shy, looked down, and then looked up with a beautiful smile. Perfect!
For the first two weeks of next month I will be unable to load daily photos - so the blog will run an intermission showing my AHM portraits.
A variation on lightning and stars. This time we have lightning, stars, moon, and also the light from a small cooking fire lighting up the lower branches of the tree in the foreground. I took a few versions of this, in portrait layout, showing more of the foreground, but I think this frames the lightning better. The alternatives are here in the runner up folder on Picasa (and I've also uploaded a few older ones too!).
With the cut lawns (to keep the snakes away) and the view of Bat Mountain in the distance, this could be some holiday camp in the wild outback... But once the rainy season is finished, it will be full of miners risking their lives in backbreaking work to find small pieces of gold.
Tiger lives in a small shack on a hillside in the middle of the mining area. He doesn't seem to have much, but he boasts that the springwater he keeps in a half burried box is as cool and refreshing as anything from a fridge. He looks fit and healthy, and when I wander past he invites me in for a cool drink, a fresh banana, and a game of chess on his homemade board and selection of pieces from a few different chess sets. I relax with him in the shade and find he's right. This is a level of luxury that you couldn't find in London, Paris or New York!
What was once a small quiet creek running through shaded forest is now a great red scar in the landscape. This enormous hole has been dug, pretty much by hand, in the search for gold. So much work, effort, and danger, along with some death and destruction. But the mines surprised me. The occasional scar in a hillside was offset by the beautiful scenery. The rough, hardworking miners were kind and welcoming. This place wasn't the hell on earth I was expecting, and the destruction was much less than that caused by any motorway passing through the countryside.
OK - I'll admit it sounds crazy, but here is the story! I was on the rough trail to the Marudi gold mines. In the middle of the rainforest, many miles from anywhere. The trail was wet, muddy and awful. I got so stuck on my motorbike that I couldn't go anywhere. The bike was stuck upright! I dug clay out from the wheels but still couldn't lift the bike out - either the front wheel or the back wheel. I had a good rest, ate and drank and tried again, but I was stuck. Then, like a dream, these Amerindian hunters stepped out of the forest, lifted my bike out, and sent me on my way. I'm glad I took a photo. It wasn't just a dream!
After the festival of games and activities, dances and parties, it's time to head off over the savannah on the long trek home. At least we've had no rain all week and the trails are starting to dry out.
PS - There's a hidden extra in this photo - I didn't notice it until I got it onto my computer - but it made me laugh! Prize for the first person to spot it!
The games ended with atraditional dance, which slowly morphed into a Brazillian Forrah dance session! It was a great way to finish with everybody dancing in front of the stage to the Wapishan musicians performing their version of Brazilian dance music!
Key feature of the August Games is the selection of Miss Amerindian for the year. No swim costume parade, but there is a traditional dress parade, speech in Wapishan, traditional song or performance, a difficult question to answer, and finally, the ball gowns!