Keeping it Reel

18 / 10 / 2013

86-year-old Julienne

This photo comes from writer, viagra photographer and humanitarian aid worker Meg Sattler. Pictured is 86-year-old Julienne who lives in a plywood shelter in a tiny village in rural Haiti. Her home was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. Despite the fact she can no longer walk, she is bringing up at least ten children, mostly her grandchildren, determined that they will all receive the education she never had.

Meg writes: Haitians are uniformly described as ‘the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere’. My time in Haiti showed me a country hit again and again by calamity, and a population constantly, yes, struggling to recover – but also a consistent strength among Haiti’s women that was anything but ‘poor’.

Every woman or girl I met in Haiti, whether aged one or ninety-one one, had a fire inside her. Daily I was sung to, sworn at, pushed away, hugged. I engaged in dancing, lively debate, and spent hours relishing loud and constant laughter (which, probably, was often directed at and not with me. I never minded).

The quest for truth in photography is never easy. In my photographs of Haitian women, I tried to avoid telling stories of ‘success’ or ‘need’, as is often the requirement in the international development world. In the harsh beauty of Haiti, rarely did this dichotomy exist. Instead I sought to show people as I saw them; glimpses gained from countless moments shared with strong women in a country rarely spoken of in Australia, and so often misunderstood.

Meg has documented the lives of families in countries including Haiti, Pakistan, India, Ecuador, Thailand and Malaysia. She lived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, from late 2010 to 2012, where she worked as a Communications Manager for an international NGO.

You can contact her via  sattler.meg@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @megsattler.

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