In my months of international travel, and years of community and political organizing, I can say that I have encountered people from many walks of life. From farmers and homemakers in the small towns of Iowa to day laborers and textile shop workers in India and Bangladesh. As different as their lifestyles, religions, and economic circumstances may be, the thread that weaves all people together is the common vision in goals yet to be achieved.
If you take the time to look in the eyes of someone different then yourself to genuinely listen to the story of who they are, you may be quite surprised to find a kinship that you may never have anticipated. When I met the women above at a brick factory on the narrow dust road near Keshabpur, Bangladesh, I felt closer to her than I had with almost anyone else that I had encountered before. I had not known this women for more than a few minutes, but her struggle to support her family by toiling tirelessly to mold earthen clay into bricks was a struggle that I understood.
The sweat on her brow and the strength in her face were like the expression that my mother and father wore on their faces as they separated the the flowers from the noxious weeds as they cultivated life on their farm in the United States. My parents devoted their lives to this work in order to enable my sister and I to lead lives of more prosperity than their own. With the privilege that I had been fortuitously granted, comes great responsibility, and in taking this photo, I was inspired to make a commitment to sharing her struggle so that one day her children could also find opportunities.
My blog, Eyes Wide Open, is my personal effort to enlighten you with the stories and struggles of people I have met in ways that inspire and challenge you to change your own life to make a positive difference on another life.
Photography Portfolio at www.ellievanhoutte.com
More work at http://flickr.com/photos/ellievanhoutte