Despite the southern Sudanese town of Dinder feeling far poorer than parts of the north of the country – indeed, making parts of Khartoum feel quite affluent and extremely clean – the people were the most incredibly hospitable, generous and effortlessly selfless I have ever met.

We were taken to a bakery by a friend we had made in the town. It was midday and there was a crowd of people outside the bakery, looking fairly impatient and disgruntled. We waited along with them for half an hour so. Then, just as the bars at the front of the shop were opening to pass bags of bread out in exchange for SDG, we were pulled in through the back entrance for a private tour of the bakery.

It was industrial-sized and quite impressive, with about thirty men working inside. We were taken around the various ovens and other machines for the few different types of bread they baked here, and met and took photos with many of the bakers.

At the end of everything, we got two ginormous bags of bread hoisted upon us. We put our hands in our pockets to pull out some SDG but the bakers refused to accept anything. We put up a good and long fight but there was eventually nothing we could do.

So we left with the feeling that of all people in the world who should be giving their bread away, these men were at the very bottom of the list. But that it was this very fact that made the gesture all the more beautiful.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris. All rights reserved.

Traditional healing practices

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This photo is of my friend with whom I rode camels around the Thar desert for five days, slept under the stars, and got caught in storms and sandstorms. The latter were so vicious I had to be rushed to a local village woman by a young boy on his motorbike to remove the pieces of grit in my eye with tweezers, that had made me feel as if I was slowly losing my sight throughout the night.

I couldn’t open my eyes – they were too painful and sensitive to the beating sun – as I sat cross-legged outside her house. But in my mind I was in the middle of a beautiful scene of smiling children running in circles around us as she peeled my eyelids further and further upwards to exact more stubborn rubble from within.

I would love to conclude that this local and ancient method of restoring vision sufficed. That, however, was not the case. And the pain returned.

We reluctantly drove on to a bustling local hospital. I was immediately ushered into a very open room, flipped over and stabbed twice in the bum – once on each side – with sharp injections of painkiller.

I was told that someone had been throwing rocks in my eyes and was advised to avoid that. I was finally sent off with an extensive shopping list for eye-drops, tablets and medicines.

The pain waned, sight did eventually return, and I retreated once again to the desert.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris. All rights reserved.

It’s a man’s world…?

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In a small village in the Thar desert of Rajasthan, India.

A single young girl amidst a flurry of boys running to have their photo taken too.

I was, and still am, caught up by her innocent expression here of pure joy at being the first to reach me and to stand alone framed by the frenzy of the other children.

I captured her photo in the moment before a subtle taint of shyness and confusion spread across her face.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris 2016. All rights reserved.