Distance covered: 127 km (79 miles)
Subjects found: 1
No amount of planning was able to prepare me for the reality of finally finding the boy that we were looking for.
This one will be easy, we told ourselves. We’ll find the well, and the boy won’t be far away.
It was an enormous well, one of the biggest I’d ever seen. It couldn’t be hard to find.
We walked back and forth for over an hour. Dogs barked. The well was nowhere to be found.
There used to be a well here, the locals said, pointing to the centre of a parking lot. It was filled in six years ago.
I was here five years ago, I told them.
They shrugged, and didn’t seem to believe me.
There were some simple huts nearby, with cows and pigs outside. We found a man and two boys, and showed them the young boy’s photograph.
One of the boys was the one that we were looking for.
He’d hardly changed at all, and still we didn’t recognise him. He didn’t recognise his own portrait, either. None of them did.
We moved on.
It was another hour before a local man led us back to him, by which time it was getting dark.
His name is Wayan. He’s eleven years old, the youngest of five.
He’s not just a photograph anymore.
We’ll see him again tomorrow.