|Photo © Tewfic El-Sawy-All Rights Reserved|
She was sitting on the side of the dirt road which was the village's main street, selling some vegetables or fruits. Through an interpreter, I asked if she was agreeable to pose for us for a few minutes. She had a wide smile on her face all through the rapid to and fro, so I imagined she was about to agree....but I was mistaken.
Her response was that she couldn't leave her spot on the dirt road because she'd lose business. I pointed out that there was not a single soul visible, except for our group and we weren't interested in buying her vegetables...and that the photo shoot would take a maximum of 5 minutes at most.
The to and fro with the interpreter started again, and I could feel the smiling Red Dzao was either really determined to drive a hard bargain or was just so accustomed to selling her small bunch of vegetables from the same spot, that she would never leave it for a minute until all was sold.
I didn't want to break my rule to pay for photographs, so I offered to buy her whole inventory of vegetables for what they were worth (probably $2 or so), against her acceding to our wishes. She hummed and hawed for a while, but after I paid her for the vegetables and distributed those to some people in a nearby restaurant, she finally -but still hesitantly- accompanied us to the bridge a few yards away.
To cut a long story short, we eventually realized that the tiny Red Dzao's reluctance to pose for us wasn't motivated by mercenary reasons at all...she was just scared by the thought of standing on the swaying old bridge.
It wasn't as bad as she thought it would be, and all ending well, she eventually returned home with the proceeds of her vegetable sales much earlier than usual...probably shaking her head at the crazy foreigners's persistence.
|My being 6'3" tall meant I had to crouch a lot to be as short as Ms Red Dzao.|