I took the photo on which this piece is based during a walk around Les Anglais, Haiti, to see their wells. When I reviewed my picture files later, I was amazed: dumb luck had provided me a beautifully-composed scene. As always when editing Haiti photos, the main challenge is the extreme contrasts between strong sun splashes and deep shadows. I spent days lightening and darkening different areas and adjusting the grayscale profile before starting to separate the colors, print stencil transparencies, image the silkscreens, and make test samples.
There were people drawing water at every one of the five wells we visited, and usually others waiting their turn. It was always the children doing the pumping, and none seemed to mind. I guess the long walk to the river for unsafe water is still fresh in their minds. Everybody there understands the connection between contaminated water and diseases like cholera.
Les Anglais is a farming village on the far southwest coast of Haiti. Until recently, the paved road didn’t go that far and there wasn’t a bridge to cross the river into town. This is a place of contrasts in development as well as in lighting: people have cell phones, but no public utilities for water, sewer, electric, or gas; oxen pull plows; farmers haul produce to market in baskets on their heads or on donkeys; people die of easily-cured illnesses like diarrhea because there is no health care or medication within reach; there is a family-planning clinic in town; a few solar-powered street lights give kids a place to do their homework after dark; the community center has a library of software applications manuals and Windows 95 computers that work when the generator is running.