“Pathos” – Photo Friday

 pa·thos  (pā’thŏs’, -thôs’) n.  

  1. A quality, as of an experience or a work of art, that arouses feelings of pity, sympathy, tenderness, or sorrow.
  2. The feeling, as of sympathy or pity, so aroused.

There’s is nothing quite like the visual art of photography to evoke our emotions.  I love that it’s an art form that is available to everyone.  Most cannot paint, most cannot sculpt, most cannot draw, but everyone can point and shoot.  With the advent of the nearly idiot-proof digital camera, even the most unskilled eye and wavering finger can inexpensively capture wonderful images.

I love taking pictures.  My primary camera is a Nikon Coolpix S4.  The lens swivels 170 degrees allowing me to easily get shots from all kinds of angles.  Often my best pictures are ones that I did nothing to set up.   

I took this picture during the summer of 2006.  It was taken in Kansoka, Zambia.  This was “foot washing day”.  We had hundreds of orphans come to get loved on/hugged on/held/played with, as well as to get, in most cases, their very first pair of shoes and socks.  This particular little girl had captured my attention throughout the day.  I don’t know her story.  I don’t even know her name.  I never learned the stories of most of the thousand or so orphans we met that summer.  But most of them shared at least part of the same story.  In Zambia alone, more than three quarters of a million of them have been left alone in the world having lost one or both of their parents to malaria or AIDS.  The “lucky” ones had older siblings to care for them.  One 10-year-old we met was the oldest left in his household.  He had become the man of his family and was now responsible for the care of his four little brothers and sisters.

Life has dealt this little princess a very hard blow.  Life in sub-saharan Africa is difficult for most in the best of circumstances.  To be a child, perhaps even a baby, and to be left parentless, makes an already difficult circumstance a precarious one.  And yet many of their young faces still shine.  They laugh and play just like children do.  They are full of hope.

I look at her face and my heart is both completely broken, and yet paradoxically full. 


(Click HERE for links to more Photo Friday submissions.  And please consider playing along with us!  We’re only three, we’d like to be more!)

Next week’s Photo Friday topic is “Joy!”.



About Lou (Linda)

Just a girl from Colorado trying to live life to God's glory with a certain amount of gusto! View all posts by Lou (Linda)

9 responses to ““Pathos” – Photo Friday

  • Lady Luck

    This is a beautiful photograph – I know exactly what you mean about this particular little girl; she tugs at my heart strings too.

    It is just tragic to think of such young children coping alone without parents – and maybe having to look after an entire family, at the tender age of ten years old.

    I’m just so enjoying Photo Friday – because it is an opportunity to see such wonderful photos (as the one you’ve posted) which in turn provoke wider thought and contemplation. It is exactly what I hoped would happen. Thank you so much for taking part.

    I also loved what you said: “With the advent of the nearly idiot-proof digital camera, even the most unskilled eye and wavering finger can inexpensively capture wonderful images” – I recognise myself here!!!!! I am most definately untrained, unskilled and have wavering fingers – but I like to think I have an eye for capturing an image (which cannot be taught or learned) – you most definately have an “eye” too.

  • Lou (Linda)


    I’m just so delighted to have the opportunity to take part in this photo meme. My cousin Julie is hopefully going to be joining in the challenges, too.

    Thanks again for putting it together! And for your wonderful reflections and input. For sure you have an “eye” for capturing images!

  • Shirley

    Linda, sometimes I cannot stand to look at such a picture and hear such a description. I almost feel my heart literally tearing. How is it possible that babies take care of babies? How can a baby boy run a household? I cannot bear the thought.

    Your well-eyed picture captures the story. The little girl is beautiful, and I love the light shining on her hair, and on the boy’s hand behind her. But I cannot look long, for frankly, I’m crying.

  • Lou (Linda)


    These are the faces of the future of Africa. I know that God has her in His hand as much as I know He has me. And as much as our hearts are broken by all these who are “fatherless”, I know that HIS “father’s heart” is even more broken. I truly believe that God is going to raise up a generation of believers in these children and that we will see miraculous things happen in Africa because of them. But it is oh so hard to know that while I sit safe and warm and well fed, they struggle to exist every single day…

  • skywindows


    This is an amazing picture. You really captured the moment. Your post reminds me of a famous children’s author, Trevor Romain.(http://www.trevorromain.com/blog/)

    He grew up in South Africa and his blog contains many stories of the children from there, and from the times he has gone back to visit. I am sure you will love his blog.

    My daughter Ambriel got to meet him, and he is working with her on a book.

    My photo is up now as well…


  • Photo Friday-Pathos « Sky Windows

    […] hope you will take the time to check out the other participants posts: A curious state of affairs Blah Blah Blog Please join me for next weeks topic: […]

  • Lou (Linda)


    I checked out Trevor’s Blog. Added it to my blogroll. Thanks for introducing me to it….

  • kristen


    Thanks for keeping this blog. My dd’s going on TM this summer, first time, age 14 and at this point info is scarce – I loved reading through your posts! Your love for the Lord and enjoyment of his people, your passion for the lost is all over this page and it really refreshed my spirit. Thanks again!


  • Lou (Linda)

    Kristen, I’m glad that you are finding good things in my blog. Please feel free to e-mail me at bbblogmail@aol.com if you have any questions about TMI. Where’s your dd going this summer?

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