This photo was taken in Koubawelkoundia, Cercle de Douentza Mali in December 2007. A few days before I left the village to do a third year in Guinea, we had a large traditional dance party to celebrate the work we had shared in. Everyone from the village where I lived and worked and people from 2 neighboring villages where I worked came out. I love this picture for several reasons. 1. Looking at it brings me straight back to that day. I can hear the music, the people clapping, the giigles of children at my feet while I stood on a rock to take the photo, and the laughter of my friends and family of the villages. Looking at the pictures reminds me of being surrounded by them all. I also love this picture for the strength I see in the women. Despite the backbreaking work they do every day, they manage to have so much energy to take time away from that and truly get swept away by the joy of the moment. The traditional dance the women are doing in this picture appeared very simple, but when you tried to do it, it was actually quite complicated. That difficulty gave it an almost serious, spiritual component to it. It was almost as if they were dancing to say, "We are strong, we are proud, and most of all we are grateful for life."