Photo taken by first-time contributor Cassandra, a 32-year-old woman from New Zealand who lost her older brother to suicide when she was 14-years-old. Beyond being sad and shocked, she was very angry. She remained angry about what she considered his ‘weak and stupid choice’ for most of her life, until last year, when she suffered her first bout of true depression. Suddenly she realized how he must have felt – how heavy the burden of daily life can become and how distorted your perspective can be. Thankfully she came through it but she is grateful for that dark time because it helped her gain empathy and compassion for friends who still struggle daily with depression. She runs two blogs – My Life is My Message that shares stories of inspiring everyday people who are trying to make their world a better place, and The Wonders where she showcases photos and stories of joy and wonder in the world as she travels.”
About this photo: “Cara and I set out this morning on a 3 day trek to Inle Lake, Myanmar, organised by Sam’s Family Trekking in Kalaw. There are 8 of us in the walking party – me and Cara (Austria), Pau, Alva, Josep, and Rosa (all Spanish), our guide Pan Shwe (golden flower) and our cook Ko Pyu (fat brother).
We passed though pine forests, small dusty villages, lunched in the home of a hilarious elderly couple, walked along the ridgeline of mountains and through mountainside agricultural villages growing ginger, potatoes, capsicum, hot peppers, cauliflower, peanuts, jackfruit, pears and more. We saw rusting monasteries, cheeky bum wiggling children, weathered old men driving oxen, and beautiful young women hoeing the earth.
Tonight we sleep in a mountaintop village. I had fun goofing with a gaggle of local kids (pictured) – playing chase, teaching them to count in English, singing songs, and taking as many pictures as their cheerful little hearts desired.”