When I decided to stop my cinema studies in Belgium and leave the country, I didn’t have any money nor idea what to do. I just wanted to quit, so I went to Australia. I was willing to take on any job and I ended up working on a farm. I arrived in Cressy, Tasmania, a very tiny town in the north of the island. I slept with a friend in the same boot car for two months. We were planning to stay a maximum of two weeks on the berry farm that hired us. Yet in my great luck, I could access a harvest supervisor position, which meant better pay and an easier task. And this is when a beautiful life experience started, I discovered Tonga, Vanuatu, Nepal, Bhutan, China, South Korea, Japan without having been there before. The job wasn’t very fun, but the people were worth it.

Through all these interactions, I came to understand the extreme mistake of believing in stereotypes. I had plenty before leaving Belgium. I learned how deep human being can be, how different we all are and at the same time so similar. The richness of the individuals I met was far from my reality and I quickly transformed my two weeks in six months. I decided to abort my naïve and selfish need of “amazing adventures” to do what I’ve always wanted to do: telling the stories of others in images. With the money I earned, I bought a camera to shoot those crazy 120 Tongans I was working and living with. Here are some pictures about the life of their camp, some in the field, church, and during sports and moments of fun.

The day at the farm

All images and Original text © 2018-2019 Léopold Deru