Sun 30 Jan
I've been trying to persuade Dia - the crop market broker - to take me to see (and photograph) the hibiscus girls. Today he has finally agreed.
Karkaday comes in from the farms in varying qualities. Young women sort through it, picking out sticks, stones and sheep pooh; separating the curled crimson hibiscus petals from the broken slivers and pink dust. They are happy and cheery and seemingly grateful for the distraction of a white man with a camera. I imagine there's a great sisterhood here - looking after each other in the face of adversity. Perhaps there's occasional jealousy too as the head girl wins another favour off the foreman or catches the photographer's eye. I imagine they share gossip and jokes and complain all the time about the disappointments in their lives.
Inside the compound there's a job to be done, it's a dirty job but someone has to do it. The oldest tattiest rags are too good. The girls sit on sacks; legs astride large perforated bowls, trousers - or at least tracksuit bottoms - are de rigueur.