On a misty road, high up in the mountains on the border between China and Vietnam, we met this grandmother with the intense look in her eyes. She was running a little convenience store selling instant noodles and beer. She didn’t seem to mind my curiosity, rather reciprocate it. I felt her eyes heavy on me the whole time I was there. Her head-gear tells tale that she is part of the YiChe minority group, a sub-group of the matriarchal Hani’s. The older generation cannot speak Mandarin, so there was little verbal communication. Today the children learn Mandarin in school, often in detriment to their local, ethnic language.
Although it is hard to choose between your babies, this photo is one of my own all-time favorites – where would that determined gaze would have brought her if she grew up somewhere else…?