Sweet Thing – Pastel – 18 x 24 inch

It is hot. It is dry. We are in the inlands of Africa. The roads are unmarked rivers of fine red earth, full of potholes and knee-deep grooves that can trap your vehicle at any moment. The sun makes your skin sizzle and the red dust suffocates your pores and permanently damages your camera.

There is a village of mud houses with straw roofs and mud floors. The villagers cook outside on a small wood fire and there is no plumbing, no toilet, no beds, no furniture, nothing. At its centre is a stall for the occasional rich traveller passing through where I just miss out on buying the only bag of salt on the shelf, so I buy the only tiny jar of granulated coffee.

Outside in this middle of nowhereness is this cheeky little thing checking out the strange white lady in the funny clothes (the style is rather Bohemian). “What’s that? What do you need that for?”, she asks touching the jar and shaking it with a puzzled expression on her face. Then she looks up at me with a dazzling smile which reveals a coloured piece of chewing gum… I stare at her. Stunned. I start to grin and point at her gum: “What do you need that for?” and we both laugh.