Warao woman living along Orinoco River

Warao people living along Orinoco River-4.jpg

I met this woman along my 5-hour Orinoco Delta River “cruise” on a single motored canoe that could maximum sit 4~5 people. The mothers were left alone at home with the children, living in basic bungalows on the river, selling bead necklace and hand-made straw baskets to those few tourists that would travel this far. There was a great deal of sadness from her eyes. I purchased the basket (in the picture) and she did not even look up and smile. Then I noticed her children, none of them were smiling either, although they had the same curiosity in the eyes as you could find elsewhere in the world.

For many years, I did not understand why mom was sad. For the same many years, I was searching for my own definition of happiness. I wonder whether this woman was sad only because of the life hardship, or lack of company by a loving husband, or lack of choice to even make a change… or a combination of all? I wasn’t able to find the answer, nor the solution. All I hope is that she and her children will grow up strong…


May 2008