soul portraits

work in progress. i’ve been wondering why i’m struggling a ridiculous amount with this, realised i haven’t really drawn geoff before (complete portrait here)

“I’m from Senegal, it’s the opposite of here. There everybody respects everybody else. And we believe in community there. There are no homeless people. You’re only homeless if you want to be. Otherwise we take care of each other. If you come over to my house, you can eat whatever, stay as long as you like, it’s no problem. If you see a kid acting up, you can address it. It takes a village. Here kids do and say whatever they want. One day a woman here said to me, ‘Africa is so dangerous, so much war and sickness.’ and I said ‘No, Africa isn’t like that. You’re trying to ignore the things going on right here and put them on Africa. There’s a caste system here. They try to minimize you. They minimize you because you’re African. They minimize you because you’re a woman. And I’m muslim, so that’s another thing.”
"Do you wish you could go back?”
“I go back all the time.”
“So why do you choose to live here with all that you have deal with?”
“I have kids in school here and I want to be here to support them.”

I feel very guilty and happy for taking this picture because it perfectly shows Mongolian culture and our human characters. Also, our famous hospitality.

We were in the middle of nowhere, seeking for a shelter, following dirt path; and we saw this family, their yurts (ger.) Went there to ask which dirt roads to follow for our next destination but they, without seconds of thought, gave one of their yurts for us to spend the night. For an urban kid like me it was the first time witnessing it.

Only thing that makes me feel guilty is that I might scared this true Mongolian girl with my camera. At the same time, hopefully, you can see how nomadic Mongolians grow to be very shy. And I love this about my people.