The Cashew Queen of Puttlam Village

It’s been a busy and exciting couple of days since my last post and I’ve got lots to share, so let’s catch up where we left off.

As I mentioned before, Dianne, Megali and I arrived in rural Puttlam on Wednesday to meet Geetha, the VisionFund client who started her own cashew processing center. After about three days of 6am – 2pm shoots I feel as though I bore witness to something really special.  I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but I’ve got to at least tell you a little about Geetha.

Geetha holding cashew

Geetha

Geetha is about 4’ 8”. For three days I watched as she conducted her business with graceful dynamism. Somewhere behind her meek demeanor and calm smile is a powerful force of nature that has designed an elegant business structure and willed it to success. And after seeing her glide around the grounds doing everything from bringing tea to her workers to driving her children to and from school on the family motorbike, I came away with the impression that at least part of her success must be due to her attitude of service. I’m 6’ 3”, but I look up to Geetha. Geetha is a giant.

 

Geetha and Workers

Gheeta and the cashew ladies.

 

Reggie Shooting with Cine

The shoot itself was a blast. We documented a wonderful story and captured some fantastic footage.

 

The Crew with Geetha

From left to right are Samil who is our trusty driver and friend, Dianne, Gheeta with her son, Megali and myself.

 

Cashew Worker

All the women who work for Geetha were such good sports. They all loved being filmed and according to Megali they all found it pretty amusing to see me rolling around in the dirt to get the shots I wanted.

Reggie Taking Polaroid Shot web fileAfter the shoot wrapped I took out a Polaroid camera that I had brought along and the real fun began. It’s a new version of the old Polaroids that instantly print out the picture. You still have to “shake it, shake, shake it” when the picture prints out. There’s something really cool about being able to take a picture and give it as physical thing right there on the spot. We took loads of snapshots for all the women workers and Geetha’s family.  It was a huge hit – everyone absolutely loved it and wanted their picture taken with various combinations of friends and family. My favorite moment was when Geetha’s seven year old son grabbed the neighbor’s daughter of a similar age so they could have the picture taken together. The little boy’s forwardness reminded me of something out of Moorise Kingdom, one of my all time favorite movies.

 

Next stop is the tea estate area in the southern region of Sri Lanka where we’ll meet up with another Vision Fund client. But before that we’ll stop for a day in Kandy in order to visit the Temple of the Tooth (dun dun dun…). Till next time!

 

 

 

 

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