In the notebooks of Alexandre Sattler, Traveler-Photographer - Children of the Mekong

In the notebooks of Alexandre Sattler, Traveler-Photographer

There are gifts that prove to be precious without measuring their real value in the eyes of those who receive them. He learnt this lesson when living among the Hmong people in the mountains of North Vietnam. Here he met Duong, a bright and happy little girl.

We are in 2014 and Alexandre is finally casting off to become a Traveler-Photographer. While travelling through the mountains of North Vietnam where the Hmong people live, he crosses paths with Duong, a curious little girl who observes the foreign photographer from her doorway.

A photo is born from this meeting which a few years later becomes the cover of a beautiful book. Two years pass before Alexandre, back in the region, finds Duong to offer him his book

“Her eyes sparkled with joy,” marvels the photographer, frustrated at not being able to exchange more, we did not have a common language.”

In 2018, the chance of a report on the tea plantations brings him back on the road to Duong village, he finds again the little girl to whom he brings this time postcards, thus eager to show her the result of a picture of her taken 4 years ago. Curious, Alexandre asks her if she has kept the book he gave her last time. The little girl answers: “My daddy burned it!”

Duong, the little Hmong girl on the cover of the book “Bursts of joy”
Alexandre feeds his travels with photographs and meetings

At first Alexandre was hurt but as he looks around the house, he realises that the room is totally empty of any material possession. The only thing on the floor is the fireplace where the family meals are cooked every day.

“I realised that we do not attach the same importance to objects. In this case, a book is still paper to light the fire for a living, even if it is a beautiful object with his daughter’s picture on it…. The strength and courage we gain from travelling, teaches us to take a step back from our own beliefs and ways of living.”

The strength and courage we gain from travelling, teaches us to take a step back from our own beliefs and ways of living.

Alexandre Sattler sponsors Pon Leap, a young Cambodian boy, who lives with his parents and little sister in the area of Kampot. He went to meet them at the beginning of the year.

Link to the video of this visit from our Youtube channel

If you want to travel in Asia and give sense to your trip, get off the beaten track to find and enjoy more authentic experiences…. If you want to have a positive impact on the country you are visiting?  Sponsoring a child and going to meet them is probably the best way to include your trip in an ethical, solidarity-based and long-lasting approach!

Sponsor a child today

Learn about our initiatives with ethnic minority groups