In 2013, I stayed on Madagascar for an entire month, working as a bike and tour guide. One of the trips was from the capital Antananarivo ("Tana" for short) to Toamasina on the east coast. More than 350k on the bike. After we stayed on the beaches of the Indian Ocean for a couple of days, we flew back to Tana. We stayed at the Hotel Tana-Jacaranda on Arabe Rainitsarovy, with a great view of the haute ville in the area of Andolaho.
On one of the walks around the area, which usually led down to Lac Anosy, the lake with the "Anjely Mainty" (Black Angel) memorial on an island in the center, honoring the soldiers lost fighting for France in the first World War. I think it was where Rue Rakotonirina turns west, where I saw those two kids.
I noticed them playing with a ball made of plastic bags. And although there was a sad dumpster just a few feet to the right of the image where they apparently lived, those kids as all the kids I met on the bike tours, walking the cities or later in the remote villages along the Tsiribihina river, were happy. Genuinely happy to be alive. It is far from romantic to be poor (and most of the families living outside the cities live on something like two bucks a day), but I am far more sympathetic to a poor man's take on life and what really matters.
And still, as I was standing there, taking the picture on the Point-And-Shoot Nikon Coolpix L27, I kind of felt ashamed. I should have at least shown them the picture. Because that was something those children loved. To see themselves on the screen on the back of the camera. And as I saw the pure joy in their eyes and heard the laughter I loved it too.