This triptych is of Yancarlo, a young man I have watched grow up in a barrio of the Dominican Republic. Since the last photograph shown here, he has had two children, lost a brother to violence, performed tremendous amounts of physical labor in construction, and is currently wishing he had a more plentiful stream of income.
Many of the mantras I’ve been exposed to over the years make little sense for someone like Yancarlo. “Don’t have children at a young age.” (What’s the difference, if your access to resources will be the same at 30 as when you’re 15?) “Study will lead to prosperity.” (I have been told that in some schools one is as likely to see teachers abusing or extorting children as following a meaningful curriculum.) And “Money should be saved.” (But if you’re dead or the money is devalued, it won’t do you much good tomorrow.)
Yancarlo will move forward with his life, perhaps never completely understanding me nor I him. However, I do hope we continue to have portions of our lives intertwined and that I have the opportunity to see him raise his children and find joy. I’m not sure exactly how he thinks of me but I know that I will always wish him the best.