Jesus Maria Sanchez.
I met Jesus on the beach here in Cabarete, where he was picking bottles up off of the sand. While my last stranger piece was conducted in broken English with a German speaker, this time I was working in Spanish, where the communication issue was more my ability to cope with the local accent. Nonetheless, our interaction was nothing if not positive. When I approached him about taking his portrait, there wasn’t even a pause. “Of course you can.” He works at the pizzeria across the street from the beach. That said, it seems the cleaning has more to do with his interest in the well being of his town, than his work at the restaurant. Jesus grew up in the nation's capital, Santo Domingo, but moved to Cabarete looking for work over 30 years ago. He found plenty of work inserting himself into the center of the growing tourism industry.
A civically and politically oriented man, Jesus Maria was quick to list a number of local organizations he’s involved with, ranging from a committee on the local schools to some sort of good Samaritan organization. It seems that Jesus thrives on helping others. He even offered to help me with future installments of my 100 strangers project. “If you want to head out into the countryside, I would be happy to help you explore the cave system. If you’d rather, I could introduce you to a wide variety of locals and explain your project to them. All you have to do is call me.”
It's always encouraging to have such a positive interaction when photographing strangers. Thanks Jesus.
Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at www.100Strangers.com