Ngaputaw Township, Myanmar; December 2016. There was a festive air in the village. Strangers from foreign lands have arrived and wanted to talk to village members. The villagers have arranged an elaborate welcoming party of village men and women proudly displaying their traditional Karen clothing, small kids offering fresh flowers and garlands, a string band playing traditional music, school children putting up a mass dance under the sun, and traditional food set in abundance at the meeting hall — a classroom vacated by the teachers and their pupils to give way to the big village meeting.
Amidst this noise and beehive of activities, he sat at the side of a trail near the meeting hall. Alone. Under the sun but seemingly feeling cold. Staring but obviously disconnected. Watching but showing no hint of interest.
My hand slightly shook as I put down my lens, realizing what I saw in it. Twilight and the edge of obscurity — the thought of getting there at some point scared me!