image by kate gazaway
the end of this month I will be travelling with Trashwater.org to Los Brasiles, Nicaragua for 2 weeks. Trashwater hopes to break ground on construction of a water purification center that will provide those folks clean drinking water, indoor plumbing, a place to bathe, do laundry, and to wash their produce; all of which are things they don’t currently have access to or are unable to do. I’m privileged with the task of Team Photographer to document it all. (impressive sounding, right?)
so often we get caught up in the everydayness of our lives, and the prospect of being able to take a break from my “real” life to go on this adventure is an amazing opportunity. to experience something completely new and to have my skills valued while doing so is a great gift.
I know I have no real idea of what we’ll encounter, the discomfort or hardships, or starkness of the reality, or the beauty and the fun that we’ll experience, but my hope is that through this trip I’ll have the opportunity for both personal and professional discovery, as well as seeing the world a bit more as it really is–issues like poverty, sanitation, health–instead of just what I’m witness to in my own little (self-imposed) bubble. I hope to lift my head up, look around, and see that there are other pressing issues than just the ones that we have going on in our own lives.
when my family (parents, siblings, spouses, and the grandchildren) went on a trip to the philippines 4 years ago, I remember being struck by the contrast of living conditions, sometimes right next to each other. there’s virtually no middle class. you’re well off or you are poor. maids and housekeepers and nannies. or squalid slums or shanty towns (and yes, poor sanitation and inadequate water supply). but what I remember clearly is my father telling me that just because these poor people don’t have all the conveniences that we are used to does not mean they’re unhappy. if they’re lucky enough to have a pot of rice, and their family all around them, they might be happier than we are with all our cares and worries and obligations.
so I go to nicaragua with the intention of meeting and interacting and sharing and learning, keeping in mind always that this should be both a giving and a taking of knowledge and experience for everyone involved.
of course I plan to take amazing photos, but my hope is that by sharing these images, the places and people we’ll be visiting will become real to those who view them. maybe making the world a little bit smaller and more accessible. I think it’s important to see that there are other pressing world issues. and also important to open people to the realities of the world at large. to help shed the light on the issues that are not our own and gain some perspective. and finally, to look outside of ourselves…even if only for a moment, and feel compassion for people we don’t even know. people become real, people who we can see and touch and know, even if it’s virtually. it’s about connecting people and touching people. it’s about being real.
ultimately, I hope it’s about making a difference in my life, and in turn, making a difference in the lives around me.
I’ll be travelling October 28 thru November 11. if possible, I hope to blog while there. because even in Los Brasiles, they have wifi. if time or technology does not allow, I will be sharing pictures, words, and experiences once I return.
my goal is to collect $2500 in fundraising by Tuesday, October 23rd, to cover travel expenses (flight, ground transportation, lodging, meds, meals) and additional equipment that I suddenly find I need. I’m already on my way, but could still use your help. if you are both willing and able to support me and my photography with a financial contribution, please know that any amount is both generous and appreciated.
and as always, your continued encouragement and interest in my photography journey is of the greatest value to me.
love (as appropriate),