This little Hmong girl could not at all manage a smile when I was taking her photo, and that was fine, considering she was hardly in a smiley mood. She lives in a rather impoverished Hmong village outside of Luang Prabang.

I also felt that she deserves to be on the cover page of this visual narrative, for every time I look at her photo, I am moved by her sense of despair. It is not that I believe we should exploit this aspect of the human condition in order to magnify the tone of our work. However, I am always driven to look as deeply into her eyes, as she did into my camera when I passed through her village.

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