Monday, February 10, 2014

Toy Stories

Naya - Managua, Nicaragua

Naya has a few small cook tools but she never
gets bored to play with them. She uses mud and
grass from the garden to pretend to cook some
cakes for her older sister. She says that in the
future she will manage a restaurant and she’s sure
that tourists will love it!


In our pursuit of perspective, lets take a moment for children and their toys.
Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti spent 18 months traveling around the world and photographing children with their favorite toys for his ‘Toy Stories’ series.

Gabriele says it was surprising how much toys can tell about the family of the child, and even though all kids just want to play, they do it in very different ways: “The richest children were more possessive. In poor countries, it was much easier. In Africa, the kids would mostly play with their friends outside.”
Go to his website for the whole series:

Chiwa – Mchinji, Malawi

Chiwa lives in a small hut with her mother, father and
sister.  They don’t have electricity and running water.
Chiwa helps her mother to carry water to their home
from the river.  In the village there are other 50 children
(more or less) and they always play all together outside.
Chiwa has just 3 toys that some volunteers of an NGO
gave to her when she was born. Her favorite is the
dinosaurs because she says that he can protect her from
the dangerous animals.


Galimberti talks about meeting a six-year-old boy in Texas and a four-year-old girl in Malawi who both maintained their plastic dinosaurs would protect them from the dangers they believed waited for them at night – from kidnappers and poisonous animals respectively.
Children reflect their culture and circumstances in so many ways.  Good and not-so-good are written on their faces and in their lives.  It perhaps requires a bit of us to thoughtfully consider what we see here.  The photos are done well and artistically composed.  Underneath, we can see the issues of income inequality, the gap between rich and poor, and how it affects individuals. 

If we knew these children and their families; if they were friends of ours, would we think differently?  Would our children think differently?

Jaqueline – Manila, Philippines

Jaqueline has a lot of different toys but her favorite is for
sure Tinker Bell, the little green fairy that her best friend
gave her. Her father is a fashion photographer and almost
every day takes photos of her too. Jaqueline says that she
will be a model in the future.


When photographer Gabriele Galimberti decided to travel around the world and capture snapshot moments of children with their toys, what he ended up learning was much greater than child's play -- he also gained greater insight into different cultures, parenting styles and social attitudes. Galimberti is a commercial photographer trying his hand at documentary and travel photography. On a recent 18-month trip around the globe, he photographed children from various locales, from Boulder, Colorado to Bail, Indonesia, all posing with their most beloved toys. His simply styled photograph series titled Toy Stories speaks volumes about the varying cultural attitudes children have toward their toys, while also highlighting the universal language of good old fashioned playtime that every child enjoys. - See more at:

Tangawizi – Keekorok, Kenya

Tangwizi was born in a Maasai village in the south of Kenya
in a small hut made of dung and straw. His bed is made of a
few rags on the ground. He always plays outside with all the
other children of the village but every night he sleeps together
with his unique toy: a little pelouche monkey.


Julia – Tirana, Albania

Julia was born in Tirana where she lives with her parents
in a small apartment in the center of the city. Her father
works in a gas station and her mother is a housewife.
Both of the parents speak a good Italian because they
learned from the Italian TV, probably the main one in
Albania! They are sure that their child Julia will learn
soon too. She loves dolls and especially Barbie 
but her father recently gave her a small guitar because
he would love her to be a musician


Botlhe – Maun, Botswana

Botlhe has a lot of friends, and all of them live really close
by to the small house where she lives with her family in a
residential complex. In the complex, there is one toilet for
every four families. Botlhe has only one toy, the monkey,
but she almost never plays with it because she prefers to
go out with friends and play with them.


Allenah – El Nido, Philippines

Allenah Lajallab was born and raised in El Nido, a small town north
of Palawan in the Philippines. In El Nido there weren't hospitals and
she was born at home. She has a lot of stuffed animals, and her favorite
is the orange one because she loves the color. She doesn't like the
white stuffed animal as much, because it gets dirty too easily.


Cun Zi Yi - Chongqing, China

Cun Zi Yi just turned 3, and received a lot of gifts for her birthday.
She plays with everything and can’t choose her favorite toy. Her
parents say that she’s really good at painting, and will be an artist
when she grows up.


Arafa & Aisha – Bububu, Zanzibar

Arafa and Aisha are twins. They sleep in the same bed,
have the same clothes, go to school together and share
the same toys. They live in a two-room house in which
both of the rooms are bedrooms, and the kitchen and
restroom are outside. The big photo above the closet
is a portrait of the former president of Zanzibar.


Bethsaida – Port au Prince, Haiti

Bethsaida – Port au Prince, Haiti

Bethsaida was born in Port-au-Prince where she had always
lived in a house with her family until, almost 2 years ago, a big
earthquake destroyed it. Her parents are both deaf but fortunately
she’s not. Now they live in a camp site out of the city. The camp
was built by an American NGO which works with deaf, so in
the camps almost 90% of the people can’t hear and talk. All the
toys that Bethsaida has are donated from the NGO. She wants to
be a hairdresser and loves combing her doll to practice, but
unfortunately her brother has cut off half of the hair of the doll.


Taha – Beirut, Lebanon

Taha was born in Palestine, but now he lives in Beirut where
he's a refugee together with his family. They live in a sort
of shantytown together with a few thousand other people.
Everybody there is from Palestine. To get water and electricity
they need to illegally connect their house to the public service.
Taha has just one toy, the car, and he didn't have any doubt
when I asked him to show me his favorite toy.