I accompanied a team of journalists and CARE employees to Kathmandu in Nepal on my own initiative. I was supposed to document the project as far as the province in photos, but naturally you cannot avoid noticing the women’s circumstances today and listening to the stories of the old days. I was really shocked by an older woman’s story, who has been washing her husband’s feet every day in the morning and then drinking that washing water her whole life and even still now. I curiously enquired about the sense and purpose of this disgusting tradition and as one might expect, it is to show reverence to the husband. For he is a creature sent by God to take care of the woman, the family and it is an honour for the woman to be allowed to drink this dirty water. By contrast of course, it’s the women who work all day, be it in the home or in the fields, as the men who “take care of the family” spend most of the day stoned in the shade of the trees.
I was totally startled one day when I wanted to take a photo of a woman with a plough in the fields and a man suddenly jumped out at me from the shade of a tree and started running towards me. No, no, no, he called out to me, signalling with exaggerated gestures, telling me that he’s the one who feeds his family and if I’m going to photograph anyone then it should be him…. which I naturally declined of course. When we moved on, I could see how he had laid back down again in the shade while his wife had to work the plough under the blazing sun in temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius.