This photo was taken in May, 2006, at the garage in Saint-Louis, Senegal, from inside an ancient taxi about to head north. The official term for the boys at my window, young students sent out by their religious teacher to solicit alms, is 'talibés'. Among the Mauritanian volunteers, they were always known as "can kids" because the begging bowls they used to collect money were usually old tomato cans. They are found throughout West Africa, holding their cans out at garages, markets, even alongside cars stopped in traffic. Because they never get to keep the money, we usually gave them something to eat rather than coins, but on this day the car was about to leave, and I was stuck in the third row without anything to give. These two were so persistant, I took their portrait instead. Part of being a volunteer in a place like Mauritania requires that you develop a certain level of immunity to the poverty around you, so that you can do your job without feeling paralyzed and overwhelmed. This was the only time I remember photographing a can kid. They were a ubiquitous presence during my service, one I knew I would want to share with others upon my return to the States, but not one I often let get too close emotionally, even when they were just on the other side of the glass.