One day last week, on my way home from work, I passed the elementary school 5 de Fevereiro just as the classes had ended, and the sidewalks were full of kids on their way home. I walked by a group of girls that were playing “school” and asked to take a photo which turned into a long game of posing and playing. One of the girls was looking at my camera the whole time until she finally dared to ask whether she was allowed to take some photos. Her name was Winneth.
I gave Winneth my big camera, which was a bit too heavy for her to hold, but she started shooting away like crazy, taking photos of the girls, of me, of other people, turning the camera into funny angles, she was having so much fun that I felt bad about telling her that I really had to go.
I asked the girls to write their names on a paper so that I would be able to find them and give them the photos once I had developed them.
Winneth followed me as I started walking home, she took my hand. “I want to be a photographer” she said. My heart broke a little, she couldn’t possibly afford a camera. We walked together as she was taking her bus close to where I live, and as we were approaching my home I told her to wait for a moment and ran up to my apartment to pick up a disposable camera that I had. I gave it to her along with my number and told her to call me when she had taken the 27 photos. She gave me a long hug and I followed her to her bus.
Winneth has been calling me every once in a while, and last week I met her mother. Now I have the little camera again and I am trying to find a printing studio here in Maputo that will be able to handle film, without ruining me. I can’t wait to have those photos developed and finally see what was going on in Winneth’s little world.